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Full text of "The writings & speeches of Edmund Burke [microform] : a vindication of natural society on the sublime and beautiful present state of the nations, etc."

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THE 

WRITINGS AND SPEECHES 

OF 

I HE RIGHT HON'OURABLE 

h iJ M J N D BURKE 



UraroitHflflTJ ttu'tion 



Volume Five 



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Two Hundred and Fifty copies of the Beaconsfield 
Edition of Edmund Burkes Works have been 
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The Writings ^ Speeches of 

EDMUND BURKR 

IN TWELVE VOLUMES 
VOLUME FIVE 



OBSERVATIONS on ihe CO?n DUCT r/ .v/, M1\()R!'IV 
T H O U G \\ T S A N ]) D I-: T A 1 L S en S C A K t I T Y 
THREE LETTERS to a MEMBER =/ PARLIAMKNT, ,,v. 




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CONTENTS OF VOL V. 



Obsuvatiohs ok m Cokdoct of thb » horitt, pas- 

IIOTLARLT I» TM LAST SlSSION OF PABLIAMENT, 1798 

FUFAOB TO THB AoSBBM OF M. BbIBIOT TO HIS COK- 
■TITDKNTS: WITH AX APPBNDIX 

Lbttbb to William Elliot, Esq., occasiojibd bt a 

SpBBCH MADB IK THB HoDSB OF LOBDS BT THB •••• 

OF ••••••• ,K THB Dbbatb ookcbbkiho Lobd 

FlTZWILLIAM, 1795 

Thoughts akd Dbtails oh Soabcitt .... 

Lbttbb to a Noblb Lord ok thb Attacks ^adb upok 
Mb. Bcrkb akd his Pbksiok, ik thb Housb of Lords, 

BT THB DCKB OP BbDFOBD AKD THB EaRL OF LaDDBB- 
DALB, 1796 

Thrbb Lbttbbs to a Mbmbbb of Parliambkt ok thb 

Pboposals fob Pbacb with thb Rboicidb Dibbotobt 

of Frakcb. 

Lbttbb L Ok thb Otbrtdrbb of Pbacb 

Lbttbb H. Ok thb Gbkius akd Chabactbr of thb 

Fbbkch Rbvolutiok as it rboaros othbb 

Natioks 

Lbttbb m. Ok thb Rdptdbb of thb Nbootiatiok] 
THB Tbbm s OF Pbacb pboposbd ; akd thb Rb^ 
boubobs of thb Couktbt fob thb Coktiku- 
abob of thb Wae . 



1 

65 



107 
ISl 



171 



342 



384 



u 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



VOLUME FIVE 

Right Honourable William Pitt, M.P. . . . Frontispiece 

From ■ picture pointed by John Hoppner, R.A., in the N»- 
tional Portrait Oallery. 

Cromwell Houw, Old Brompton, where Ed- 
mund Burke's Son died Engraved Title 

Thomas, First Baron Erskine, K.T Page 110 

From a picture painted by Sir WillUm Ron, RA., in the 
National Portrait OaUeiy. 

William Wyndham, First Baron Grenville ... "174 

From a picture by John Hoppner. B.A., in the National Por- 
trait Oal'ery. 

John Russell, Fourth Duke of Bedford, K.G. . . " 228 

From a painting by Thomaa Oainaboiough, E.A., in the 
national Portrait Gallery. 



i ■• 



-'"' "'<■' "'^^.'^^^ji^ 



OBSERVATIONS 

oa TBI 

CONDUCT OF THE MINORITY, 

PAKnCln^KL.T in THB 

LAST SESSION OF PARLIAMENT. 

ADDRXMID TO 

THE 1.>UKE OF PORTLAND AND 
lORD FITZWILLIAM. 

1793- 



VOL. V. 



warn 



^ 



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LETTER 



to 



HIS GEACB THE DUKE OP PORTLAND. 






MY DEAB LORD,— The paper which I take the 
liberty of sending to your Grace was, for the 
greater part, written during the last session. >. few 
days after the prorogation some few observations were 
added. I was, however, resolved to let it lie by me 
for a considerable time, that, on viewing the matter 
at a proper distance, and when ' e sharpness of re- 
cent impressions had been worn off, I might be bet- 
ter able to form a just estimate of the value of my 
first opinions. 

I have just now read it over very coolly and de- 
liberately. My latest judgment owns my first senti- 
ments and reasonings, in their full fouo, with regard 
both to persons and things. 

During a period of four years, the state of the 
world, except for some few and short intervals, has 
filled me with a good deal of serious inquietude. I 
considered a general war against Jacobins and Jaco- 
binism as the only possible chance of saving Europe 
(and England as included in Europe) from a truly 
frightful revolution. For this I have be 3n censured, 
as receiving through weakness, or spreading through 
fraud and artifice, a false alarm. Whatever others 
may think of 'he matter, that alarm, in my mind, 
is by no means quieted. The state of affairs abroad 



4 LETTER TO THE DCEE OF POBTLAK0. 

is not 60 much mended as to make me, for one, full 
of confidence. At home, I see no abatement what- 
soever in the zeal of the partisans of Jacobinism 
towards their cause, nor any cessation in their ef- 
forts to do mischief. What is doing by Lord Lau- 
derdale on the first scene of Lord George Gordon's 
actions, and in his spirit, is not calculated to remove 
my apprehensions. They pursue their first object 
with as much eagerness as ever, but with more dex- 
terity. Under the plausible name of peace, by which 
they delude or are deluded, they would deliver us 
unarmed and defenceless to the confederation of 
Jacobins, whose centre is indeed in Prance, but whose 
rays proceed in every direction throughout the world. 
I understand that Mr. Coke, of Norfolk, has been 
lately very busy in spreading a disaffection to this 
war (which we carry on for our being) in the coun- 
try in which his property gives him so great an influ- 
ence. It is truly alarming to see so large a part of 
the aristocratic interest engaged in the cause of the 
new species of democracy, which is openly attacking 
or secretly undermining the system of property by 
which mankind has hitherto been governed. But we 
are not to delude ourselves. No man can be con- 
nected with a party which professes publicly to ad- 
mire or may be justly suspected of secretly abetting 
this French Revolution, who must not be drawn into 
its vortex, and become the instrument of its de- 
signs. 

What I have written is in the manner of apology. 
I b given it that form, as being the most respect- 
ful ; out I do not stand in need of any apology for 
my principles, my sentiments, or my conduct. I wish 
the paper I lay before your Grace to be considered 



i^m^ 



LETTEB TO THE DUKE OP POBTLAND. 5 

as my most deliberate, solemn, and even testament- 
ary protest against the proceedings and doctrines 
which have hitherto produced so much mischief in 
the world, and which will infallibly produce more, 
and possibly greater. It is my protest against the 
delusion by which some have been taught to look 
upon this Jacobin contest at home as an ordinary 
party squabble about place or patronage, and to re- 
gard this Jacobin war abroad as a common war about 
trade or territorial boundaries, or about a political bal- 
ance of power among rival or jealous states. Above 
all, it is my protest against that mistake or perver- 
sion of sentiment by which they who agree with us 
in our principles may on collateral considerations be 
regarded as enemies, and those who, in this perilous 
crisis of all human affairs, differ from us fundamen- 
tally and practically, as our best friends. Thus per- 
sons of great importance may be made to turn the 
whole of their influence to the destruction of their 
principles. 

I now make it my humble request to your Grace, 
that you will not give any sort of answer to the pa- 
per I send, or to this letter, except barely to let me 
know that you have received them. I even wish that 
at present you may not read the paper which I trans- 
mit : lock it up in the drawer of your library-table ; 
and when a day of compulsory reflection comes, then 
be pleased to turn to it. Then remember that your 
Grace liad a true friend, who had, comparatively with 
men of your description, a very small interest in op- 
posing the modern system of morality and policy, 
but who, under every discouragement, was faithful 
to public duty and to private friendship. I shall 
then probably be dead. I am sure I do not wish 



h 



6 



LETIEB TO THE DUKE OF POBTLAMD. 



to live to see such things. 3ut whilst I do live, I 
shall pursue the same course, although my merits 
should be taken for unpardonable faults, and as such 
avenged, not onl/ on myself, but on my posterity. 

Adieu, my dear Lord ; and do me the justice to 
believe me ever, with most sincere respect, venera- 
tion, and affectionate attachment, 
Tour Grace's most faithful friend. 

And most obedient humble servant, 

Edmund Bubke. 
BsAOONSHBLD, Sept 39, 1798. 



i^i 



OBSERVATIONS. 



APPROACHING towards the close of a long pe- 
riod of public service, it is natural T should be 
desirous to stand well (I hope I do stand tolerably 
well) with that public which, with whatever fortune, 
I have endeavored faithfully and zealously to serve. 

I am also not a little anxious for some place in the 
estimation of the two persons to whom I address tlii^ 
paper. I have always acted with them, and with 
those whom they represent. To my knowledge, I 
have not deviated, no, not in the minutest point, 
from their opinions and principles. Of late, with- 
out any alteration in their sentiments or in mine, 
a difference of a very unusual nature, and which, 
under the circumstances, it is not easy to describe, 
has arisen between us. 

In my journey with them through life, I met Mr. 
Fox in my road ; and I travelled with him very cheer- 
fully, as long as he appeared to me to pursue the same 
direction with those in whose company I set out. In 
the latter stage of our progress a new scheme of lib- 
erty and equality was produced in the world, which 
either dazzled his imagination, or was suited to some 
new walks of ambition which were then opened to 
hi: view. The whole frame and fashion of his poli- 
tics _^pear to have suffered about that time a very 
material alteration. It is about three years since, in 
consequence of that extraordinary change, that, after 



8 



OBSERVATIONS ON THE 



a pretty long preceding period of distance, coolness, 
and want of confidence, if not total alienation on his 
part, a complete public separation has been made 
between that gentleman and me. Until lately the 
breach between us appeared reparable. I trusted 
that time and reflection, and a decisive experience of 
the mischiefs which have flowed from the proceedings 
and the system of France, on which our difference 
had arisen, as well as the known sentiments of the 
best and wisest of our common fiiends upon that 
subject, would have brought him to a safer way of 
thinking. Several of his friends saw no security for 
keeping things in a proper train after this excursion 
of his, but in the reunion of the party on its old 
grounds, under the Duke of Portland. Mr. Fox, if 
he pleased, might have been comprehended in that 
pvstem, with the rank and consideration to which his 
great talents entitle him, and indeed must secure to 
him in any party arrangement that could be made. 
The Duke of Portland knows how much I wished for 
and liow earnestly I labored that reunion, and upon 
terms that might every way be honorable and advan- 
tageous to Mr. Fox. His conduct in the last session 
has extinguished these hopes forever. 

Mr. Fox has lately published in print a defence of 
his conduct. On taking into consideration that de- 
fence, a society of gentlemen, ca)' d the Whig Club, 
tliought proper to come to the following resolution : 
— "That their confidence in Mr. Fox is confirm>dj 
strengthened, and increased by the calumnies against 
him." 

To that resolution my two noble friends, the Duke 
of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam, have given their 
concurrence. 



'^1 



CONDUCT OP THE MINORITY. 



9 



The calumnies supposed in that resolution can be 
nothing else than the objections taken to Mr. Fox's 
conduct in this session of Parliament ; for to them, 
and to them alone, the resolution refers. I am ono 
of those who have publicly and strongly urged those 
objections. I hope I shall be thought only to do what 
is necessary to my justification, thus publicly, sol- 
emnly, and heavily censured by those whom I most 
value and esteem, when I firmly contend that the ob- 
jections which I, with many others of the friends to 
the Duke of Portland, have made to Mr. Fox's con- 
duct, are not calumnies, but founded on truth, — that 
they are not few, but many, — and that they are not 
UffJd and trivial, but, in a very high degree, serious 
and important. 

That I may avoid the imputatioi rowing out, 

even privately, any loose, . andum ini^ tions against 
the public conduct of a gentleman foi whom I once 
entertained a very warm affeciion, and whose abili- 
ties I regard with the greatest admiration, I will put 
down, distinctly and articulately, some of the mat- 
ters of objection which I feel to his late doctrines and 
proceedings, trusting that I shall be able to demon- 
strate to the friends whoso good opinion I would still 
cultivate, that not levity, nor caprice, nor less defen- 
sible motives, but that very grave reasons, influence 
my lent. I think that the spirit of his late pro- 

cee -s wholly ali"- to our national policy, and to 

the p-iice, to the prosperity, and to the legal liberties 
of this nation, according to »ur ancient domestic and 
appropriated mode of holding them. 

Viewing things in that light, my confidence in him 
is not increased, but totally destroyed, by those pro- 
ceedings. I cannot conceive it a matter of honor or 






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OBSEBVATIONS ON THE 



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duty (but the direct contrary) in any member of 
Parliament to continue systematic opposition for the 
purpose of putting government under difficulties, un- 
til Mr. Fox (with all his present ideas) shall have 
the principal direction of affairs placed in his hands, 
and until the present budy of administration (with 
their ideas and measures) is of course overturned and 
dissolved. 

To come to particulars. 

1. The laws and Constitution of the kingdom In- 
trust the sole and exclusive right of treating with 
foreign potentates to the king. This is an undis- 
puted part of the legal prerogative of the crown. 
However, notwithstanding this, Mr. Fox, without the 
knowledge or participation of any one person in the 
House of Commons, with whom he was bound by ev- 
ery party principle, in matters of delicacy and impor- 
tance, confidentially to communicate, thought proper 
to send Mr. Adair, as his representative, and with his 
cipher, to St. Petersburg, there to frustrate the ob- 
jects for which the minister from the crown was au- 
thorized to treat. He succeeded in this his design, 
and did actually frustrate the king's minister in some 
of the objects of his negotiation. 

This proceeding of Mr. Fox does not (as I con- 
ceive) amount to absolute high treason, — Russia, 
though on bad terms, not having been then declared- 
ly at war with this kingdom. But such a proceed- 
ing is in law not very remote from that offence, and 
is undoubtedly a most unconstitutional act, and an 
high treasonable misdemeanor. 

The legitimate and sure mode of communication 
between this nation and foreign powers is rendered 
tmcertain, precarious, and treacherous, by being di- 



^^^1^ 



CONDUCT OF THE MINORITT. 



11 



Tided into two channels, — one with the government, 
one with the head of a party in opposition to that 
government ; by which means the foreign powers can 
never be assured of the real authority or validity of 
any public transaction whatsoever. 

On the other hand, the advantage taken of the dis- 
content which at that time prevailed in Parliament 
and in the nation, to give to an individual an influ- 
ence directly against the government of his country, 
in a foreign court, has made a highway into England 
for the intrigues of foreign courts in our aflairs. This 
is a sore evil, — an evil from which, before this time, 
England was more free than any other nation, Nr'i- 
ing can preserve us from that evil — which connects 
cabinet factions abroad with popular factions hero — 
but the keeping sacred the crown as the only chan- 
nel of communication with every other nation. 

This proceeding of Mr. Fox has given a strong 
countenance and an encouraging example to the doc- 
trines and practices of the Revolution and Constitu- 
tional Societies, and of other mischievous societies 
of that description, who, without any legal authority, 
and even without any corporate capacity, are in the 
habit of proposing, and, to the best of their power, of 
forming, leagues and alliances with Prance. 

This proceeding, which ought to be reprobated on 
all the general principles of government, is in a more 
narrow view of things not less reprehensible. It 
tends to the prejudice of the whole of the Duke of 
Portland's late party, by discrediting the principles 
upon which they supported Mr. Fox in the Russian 
business, as if they of that party also had proceeded 
in their Parliamentary opposition on the same mis- 
chievous principles which actuated Mr. Fox in send- 
ing Mr. Adair on his embassy. 



1 

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12 



OBSERVATIONS ON THE 



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2. Very soon after his sending this embassy to Rus- 
sia, that is, in the spring of 1792. a covenanting club 
or association was formed in London, calling itself by 
the ambitious and invidious title of " The Friends of 
the People." It was composed of many of Mr. Fox's 
own most intimate personal and party friends, joined 
to a very considerable ptfrt of the members of those 
mischievous associations called the Revolution Soci- 
ety and the Constitutional Society. Mr. Fox must 
have been well apprised of the progress of that soci- 
ety in every one of its steps, if not of the very ori- 
gin of it. I certainly was informed of both, who had 
no connection with the design, directly or indirectly. 
His influence over the persons who composed the 
leading part in that association was, and is, unbound- 
ed. I hear that he expressed some disapprobation of 
this club in one case, (that of Mr. St. John,) where 
his consent was formally asked; yet he never at- 
tempted seriously to put a stop to the association, or 
to disavow it, or to control, check, or modify it in any 
way whatsoever. If he had pleased, without diffi- 
culty, he might have suppressed it in its beginning. 
However, he did not only not suppress it in its be- 
ginning, but encouraged it in every part of its prog- 
ress, at that particular time when Jacobin clubs 
(under the very same or similar titles) were making 
such dreadful havoc in a country not thirty miles 
from the coast of England, and when every motive of 
moral prudence called for the discouragement of so- 
cieties formed for ;ie increase of popular pretensions 
to power and direction. 

3. When the proceedings of this society of the 
Friends of the People, as well as others acting in the 
same spirit, had caused a very serious alarm in the 



CONDUCT OP THE MINOBITT. 



13 



mind of the Duke of Portland, and of many good 
patriots, he publicly, in the House of Commons, 
treated their apprehensions and conduct with the 
greatest asperity and ridicule. He condemned and 
vilified, in the most msulting and outrageous terms, 
the proclamation issued by government on that oc- 
casion, — *hough he well knew that it had passed 
through ilie Duke of Portland's hands, that it liad 
received his fullest approbation, and that it was tlie 
result of an actua' Interview between that noble Duke 
and Mr. Pitt. Duruig the discussion of its merits in 
the House of Commons, Mr. Fox countenanced and 
justified thT chief promoters of that association ; and 
he received, in return, a public assurance from them 
of an inviolable adherence to him singly and person- 
ally. On account of this proceeding, a very great 
number (I presume to say not the least grave and 
wise part) of the Duke of Portland's friends in Par- 
liament, and many out of Parliament who are of the 
same description, have become separated from that 
time to this from Mr. Fox's particular cabal, — very 
few of which cabal are, or ever have, so much as 
pretended to be attached to the Duke of Portland, or 
to pay any respect to him or his opinions. 

4. At the beginning of this session, when the so- 
ber part of the nation was a second time generally 
and justly alarmed at the progress of the French 
arms on the Continent, and at the spreading of their 
horrid principles and cabals in England, Mr. Fox did 
not (as had been usual in cases of far less moment) 
call together any meeting of the Duke of Portland's 
friends in the House of Commons, for the purpose of 
taking their opinion on the conduct to be pursued in 
Parliament at that critical juncture. He concerted 



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OB8EBVATION8 ON TBI 



his measures (if with any persons at all) with the 
friends of Lord Lansdowne, and those calling them- 
selves Friends of the People, and others not in the 
smallest degree attached to the Duke of Portiand ; 
by which conduct he wilfully gave up (in my opin- 
ion) all pretensions to be considered as of that party, 
and much more to be considered as the leader and 
mouth of it m the House of Commons. This could 
not give much encouragement to those who had be«n 
separated from Mr. Fox, on account of his conduct on 
the first proclamation, to rejoin that party. 

5. Not having consulted any of the Duke of Port- 
land's party in the House of Commons,— and not hav- 
ing consulted them, because he had reason to know 
that the course he had resolved to pursue would be 
highly disagreeable to them, — he represented the 
alarm, which was a second time given and taken, 
in still more invidious colors than those in which he 
painted the alarms of the former year. He described 
those alarms in this manner, although the cause of 
them was then grown far less equivocal and far more 
urgent. He even went so far as to treat the suppo- 
sition of the growth of a Jacobin spirit in England 
as a libel on the nation. As to the danger from 
abroad, on the first day of the session he said little 
or nothing upon the subject. He contented himself 
with defending the ruling factions in France, and 
with accusing the public councils of this kingdom 
of every sort cf i^vil design on the liberties of the 
people, — declaring distinctly, strongly, and precise- 
ly, that the whole danger of the nation was from the 
growth of the power of the crown. The policy of 
this declaration was obvious. It was in subservience 
to the general plan of disabling us from taking any 






CONDUCT or THE MIMOBITT. 



16 






steps against France. To coimtnract the alarm given 
by the progr'»08 of Jacobin arms and principles, he 
endeavored to excite an opposite alarm concerning 
the growth of the power of the crown. If that alarm 
should prevail, he knew that the nation never would 
be brought by arms to oppose the growth of the Jac- 
obin empire: because it is obvious that war does, 
in its very nature, necessitate the Commons consid- 
erably to strengthen the hands of government ; and 
if that strength should itself be the object of terror, 
we could have no war. 

6. In the extraordinary and violent speeches of 
that day, he attributed all the evils which the pub- 
lic had suffered to the proclamation of the preceding 
summer ; though iie spoke in presence of tlie Duke 
of Portland's own son, the Marquis of Tichfield, 
who had seconded the address on that proclama- 
tion, and in presence of the Duke of Portland's 
brother. Lord Edward Bentinck, and several others 
of h's best friends and nearest relations. 

7. On that day, that is, on the 13th of December, 
1792, he proposed an amendment to the address, 
which stands on the journals of the House, and 
which is, perhaps, the most extraordinary record 
which ever did stand upon them. To introduce this 
amendment, he not only struck out the part of the 
proposed address wliich alluded to insurrections, upon 
the ground of the objections wliich he took to the 
legality ,. calling together Parliament, (objections 
which I must ever think litigious and sophistical,) 
but he likewise struck out that part which related to 
the cabah and conspiracies of the French faction in Eng- 
land, although their practices and correspondences 
wei-e of public notoriety. Mr. Cooper and Mr. Watt 






i ! 



hi 



16 



OBSEBVATIONS ON THK 



11 



had been deputed from Manchester to the Jacobins. 
These ambassadors were received by them as British 
representatives. Other deputations of English had 
been received at the bar of tlie National Assembly. 
They had gone the length of giving supplies to the 
Jacobin armies; and they, in return, had received 
promises of military assistance to forward their de- 
signs in England. A regular correspondence for 
fraternizing the two nations had also been carried 
on by societies in London with a great . .m''* • of 
the Jacobin societies in France. This correspondence 
had also for its object the pretended improvement of 
the British Constitution. What is the most remark- 
able, and by much the more mischievous part of his 
proceedings that day, Mr. Fox likewise struck out 

"•ything in the address which related to the token* 
Htion given by France, her aggreaaiom upon our 
\d the sudden and dangerous growth of her poiv- 
er upon every side ; and instead of all those weighty, 
and, at that time, necessary matters, by which the 
House of Commons was (in a crisis such as perhaps 
Europe never stood) to give assurances to our allies, 
strength to our government, and a check to the com- 
mon enemy of Europe, he substituted nothing but a 
criminal charge on the conduct of the British govern- 
ment for calling Parliament together, and an engage- 
ment to inquire into that conduct. 

8. If it had pleased God to suffer him to succeed 
in this his project for the amendment to the address, 
he would forever have ruined this nation, along with 
the rest of Europe. At home all the Jacobin socie- 
ties, formed for the utter destruction of our Consti- 
tution, would have lifted up their heads, which had 
been beaten down by the two proclamations. Those 



CONDUCT OF THE MINORITY. 



17 



societies would have been ini dteljr strengthened and 
multiplied in every quarter ; their dangerous foreign 
eoiumunications would have been left broad and open ; 
tiiu crown would not have been authorized to take any 
measure whatever for our immediate defence by sea 
or land. The closest, the most natural, the nearest, 
and at the same time, from many internal as well 
as external circumstances, the weakest of our allies, 
Holland, would have been given \ip, bound hand and 
foot, to France, just on the point of invading that re- 
public. -V general consternation would have seized 
upon all Europe ; and all alliance with every other 
power, exce[)t France, would have been forever ren- 
dered impracticable to us. I tliink it impossible for 
any man, who regards the dignity and safety of his 
country, or indeed the common safety of mankind, 
ever to forget Mr. Fox's proceedings in that tremen- 
dous crisis of all human affairs. 

9. IVfr. Fox very soon had reason to bo apprised 
of the goueral dislike of the Duke of Portland's 
friends to this conduct. Some of those who had 
even voted with him, the day after their vote, ex- 
pressed their abhorrence of his amendment, their 
sense of its inevitable tendency, and their total alien- 
ation from the principles and maxims upon which 
it was made ; yet the very next day, that is, on Fri- 
day, the 14th of December, he brought on what in 
effect was the very same business, and on the same 
principles, a second time. 

10. Although the House does not usually sit on 
Saturday, he a third time brought on another prop- 
osiition in the same spirit, and pursued it with so 
nmch heat and perseverance as to sit into Sunday: 
a thing not known in Parliament for many years. 

VOL. V. 2 









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OBSERVATIONS ON THE 



11. In all these motions and debates he wholly 
departed from all the political principles relative to 
France (considered merely as a state, and indepen- 
dent of its Jacobin form of government) which had 
hitherto been held fundamental in this country, and 
which he had himself held more strongly than any 
man in Parliament. He at that time studiously 
separated himself from those to whose sentiments 
he used to profess no small regard, although those 
sentiments were publicly declared. I had then no 
concern in the party, having been, for some time, 
with all outrage, excluded from it; but, on general 
principles, I must say that a person who assumes 
to be leader of a party composed of freemen and 
of geiitlemeu ought to pay some degree of defer- 
ence to their feelings, and even to their prejudices. 
He ought to have some degree of management for 
their credit and influence in their country. He 
showed so very little of this delicacy, that he com- 
pared the alarm raised in the minds of the Duke of 
Portland's party, (which was his own,) an alarm in 
which they sympathized with the greater part of the 
nation, to the panic produced by the pretended Pop- 
ish plot in the reign of Charles the Second, — de- 
scribing it to be, as that was, a contrivance of knaves, 
and believed only by well-meaning dupes and mad- 
men. 

12. Tlio Monday following (the 17th of Decem- 
ber) he pursued the same conduct. The means urcd 
in England to cooperate with the Jacobin army in 
politics agreed with their modes of proceeding: I 
allude to the mischievo".s writings circulated with 
much industry and success, as well as the seditious 
clubs, which at that time added not a little to the 



Tlll» 



CONDUCT OF THE MINORITT. 



19 



alarm taken by observing and -well-infonned men. 
The writings and the chibs were two evils which 
marched together. Mr. Fox discovered the greatest 
possible disposition to favor and countenance the one 
as well as the other of these two grand instruments 
of the French system. He would hardly consider 
any political writing whatsoever as a libel, or as a 
fit object of prosecution. At a time in which the 
press has been the grand instrument of the subver- 
sion of order, of morals, of religion, and, I may say, 
of human society itself, to carry the doctrines of its 
liberty higher than ever it has been known by its 
most extravagant asscrtors, even in France, gave oc- 
casion to very serious reflections. Mr. Fox treated 
the associations for prosecuting these libels as tend- 
ing to prevent the improvement of tlie human mind, 
and as a mobbish tyranny. He thought proper to 
compare them with the riotous assemblies of Lord 
George Gordon in 1780, declaring that he had advised 
his friends in Westminster to sign tlie associations, 
whether they agreed to them or not, in order that 
tliey might avoid destniction to their persons or their 
houses, or a desertion of their shops. This insidious 
advice tended to confound those wlio wished well to 
the object of the association with the seditious against 
whom the association was directed. By this strata- 
gem, the confederacy intended for preserving the 
British Constitution and the public peace would be 
wholly defeated. The magistrates, utterly incapable 
of distinguishing the friends from the enemies of or- 
der, would in vain look for support, when they stood 
in the greatest need of it. 

13. Mr. Fox's whole conduct, on this occasion, 
was without example. The very morning after tlieso 



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OBSERVATIONS ON THB 



violent declamations in the House of Commons against 
the association, (that is, on Tuesday, the 18th,) he 
went himself to a meeting of St. George's parish, and 
there signed an association of the nature and tendency 
of those he had the night before so vehemently con- 
demned ; and several of his particular and most in- 
timate friends, inhabitants of that parish, attended 
and signed along with him. 

14. Im r, ?diately after this extraordinary step, and 
in order p-Kectly to defeat the ends of that associa- 
tion aga' <: Jacobin , iiblications, (which, contrary 
to his opinions, he had promoted and signed,) a mis- 
chievous society was formed under his auspices, called 
The Friends of the Liberty of the Press. Their title 
groundlessly insinuated that the freedom of the press 
had lately suffered, or was now threatened with, some 
violation. This society was only, in reality, another 
modification of the society calling itself The Friends 
of the People, which in the preceding summer had 
caused so much uneasiness in the Duke of Portland's 
mind, and in the minds of several of his friends. 
This new society was composed of many, if not most, 
of the members of the club of the Friends of the Peo- 
ple, with the addition of a vast multitude of others 
(such as Mr. Home Tooke) of the worst and most 
seditious dispositions that could be found in the whole 
kingdom. In the first meeting of this club Mr. Eiv 
skine took the lead, and directly (without any disa- 
vowal ever since on Mr. Pox's part) made use of his 
name and authority in favor of its formation and pur- 
poses. In the same meeting Mr. Erskine had thanks 
for his defence of Paine, which amounted to a com- 
plete avowal of that Jacobin incendiary ; else it is 
impossible to know how Mr. Erskine should have 



CONDUCT OP THE MINORITY. 



21 



deserved such marked applauses for acting merely as 
a lawyer for his fee, in the ordinary course of his pro- 
fession. 

15. Indeed, Mr. Fox appeared the general patron 
of all such persons and proceedings. When Lord 
Edward Fitzgerald, and other persons, for practices 
of the most dangerous kind, in Paris and in London, 
were removed from the King's Guards, Mr. Fox took 
occasion in the House of Commons heavily to cen- 
sure that act, as unjust and oppressive, and tending to 
make officers 1><"1 citizens. There were few, however, 
who did not ' some such measures on the part 
of governmei. ' absolute necessity for the king's 
personal safety, as well as that of the public; and 
nothing but the mistaken lenity, with which such 
practices were rather discountenanced than punished, 
could possibly deserve reprehension in what was done 
witli regard to those gentlemen. 

16. Mr. Fox regularly and systematically, and 
with a diligence long unusual to him, did everything 
he could to countenance the same principle of fra- 
ternity and connection with the Jacobins abroad, and 
tlie National Convention of France, for which these 
officers had been removed from the Guards. For 
when a bill (feeble and lax, indeed, and far short of 
the vigor required by the conjuncture) was broiight 
in for removing out of the kingdom the emissaries of 
France, Mr. Fox opposed it with all his might. He 
pursued a vehement and detailed opposition to it 
through all its stages, describing it as a measure con- 
trary to the existing .reaties between Great Britain 
and France, as a violation of tlie law of nations, and 
as an outrage on the Great Charter itself. 

17. In the same manner, and with the same heat, 



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22 



0BSEEVATI0N3 ON THE 



he opposed a bill which (though awkward and inar- 
tificial ill its construction) was right and wise ia its 
principle, and was precedeuted in the best times, and 
absolutely necessary at that juncture : I mean the 
Traitorous Correspondence Bill. By these means the 
enomy, rendered inanitely dangerous by the links of 
real faction and pretended commerce, would have 
been (had Mr. Fox succeeded) enabled to carry on 
the war against us by our own resources. For this 
purpose that enemy would have had his agents and 
traitors in the midst of us. 

18. When at length war was actually declared by 
the usurpers in France against this kingdom, and 
declared whilst they were pretending a negotiation 
through Dumouriez with Lord Auckland, Mr. Fox 
still continued, through the whole of the proceedings, 
to discredit the national honor and justice, and to 
throw the entire blame of the war on Parliament, and 
on his own country, as acting with violence, haughti- 
ness, and want of equity. He frequently asserted, 
both at the time and ever suice, that the war, though 
declared by France, was provoked by us, and that it 
was wholly unnecessary and fundamentally unjust. 

19. He has lost no opportunity of railing, in the 
most virulent manner and in the most unmeasured 
language, at every foreign power with whom we 
could now, or at any time, contract any useful or 
effectual alliance against France, — declaring that he 
hoped no alliance with those powers was made, or 
was in a train of being made.* He always expressed 
himself with the utmost horror concerning such alli- 

• It is an exception, that in one of his last speeches ( but not be- 
fore) Mr. Fox seemed to think an alliance with Spain might bo 
proper. 



lifiita 



m 



CONDUCT OP THE MINOEITT. 



28 



ances. So did all his phalanx. Mr. Sheridan in 
particular, after one of his invectives against thc6Q 
powers, sitting by him, said, with manifest marks 
of his approbation, that, if we must go to war, he 
had rather go to wa" alone than with such allies. 
20. Immediately after the French declaration of 
war against us. Parliament addressed th( king in 
support of the war against them, as just and no- 
cessary, and provoked, as well as formally declared 
against Great Britain. He did not divide the House 
upon this measure ; yet he immediately followed tliJs 
our solemn Parliamentary engagement to the king 
with a motion proposing a set v,r resolutions, tha 
effect of which was, that the two Houses were to 
load themselves with every kind of reproach for 
having made the address which they had just car- 
ried to tlie throne. He commenced this long string 
of criminatory resolutions against his country (if 
King, Lords, and Commons of Great Britain, and 
a decided majority witliout doors are his country) 
with a declaration against intermeddling in the interior 
concerns of France. The purport of this resolution 
of non-interference is a tiling unexampled in the 
history of the world, when one nation has been 
actually at war with another. The best writers 
or the law of nations give no sort of countenance 
to his doctrine of non-interference, in tlie extent 
and manner in which he used it, even when there 
is no war. When the war exists, not one author- 
ity is against it in all its latitude. His doctrine is 
equally contrary to the enemy's uniform practice, 
who, whether in peace or in war, makes it his great 
aim not only to change the government, but to make 
an entire revolution in the whole of the social order 
in every country. 



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OBSEBTATIONS ON tHE 



The object of the last of this extraordinary string 
of resolutions moved by Mr. Fox was to advise the 
crown not to enter into such an engagement with 
any foreign power so as to hinder us from making 
a separate peace with France, or which might tend 
to enable any of those powers to introduce a govern- 
ment in that country other than such as those per- 
sons whom he calls the people of France shall choose 
to establish. In short, tlie whole of these resolutions 
appeared to have but one drift, namely, the sacri- 
fice of our own domestic dignity and safety, and 
the independency of Europe, to the support of tliis 
strange mixture of anarchy and tyranny which pre- 
vails in France, and which Mr. Fox and his party 
were pleased to call a government. The immediate 
consequence of these measures was (by an example 
the ill effects of wliich on the whole world are not 
to be calculated) to secure the robbers of the inno- 
cent nobility, gentry, and ecclesiastics of France in 
the enjoyment of the spoil they have made of the 
estates, houscis, and goods of their fellow-citizens. 

21. Not satisfied with moving these resolutions, 
tending to confirm this horrible tyranny and rob- 
bery, and with actually dividing the House on the 
first of the long string which they composed, in a 
few days afterwards he encouraged and supported 
Mr. Grey in producing the very same string in a 
new form, and in moving, under the shape of an ad- 
dress of Parliament to the crown, another virulent 
libel on all its own proceedings in this session, in 
which not only all the ground of the resolutions 
was again travelled over, but much new inflam- 
matory matter was introduced. In particular, a 
charge was made, that Great Britain had not in- 



i^M 



jt ■— fcj- 



CONDUCT OF THE MINOBITT. 



25 



torposed to present the last partition of Poland. 
On this head the party dwelt very largely and very 
vehemently. Mr. Fox's intention, in the choice of 
this extraordinary topic, was evident enough. He 
well knows two things : first, that no wise or honest 
man can approve of that partition, or can contem- 
plate it without prognosticating great mischief from 
it to all countries at some future time ; secondly, he 
knows quite as well, that, let our opinions on that 
partition be what they will, England, by itself, is not 
in a situation to afiFord to Poland any assistance what- 
soever. The purpose of the introduction of Polish 
politics into this discussion was not for the sake of 
Poland ; it was to throw an odium upon those who 
are obliged to decline the cause of justice from their 
impossibility of supporting a cause which they ap- 
prove: as if we, who think more strongly on this 
subject than he does, were of a party against Poland, 
because we are obliged to act with some of the au- 
thors of that injustice against our common enemy, 
France. But the great and leading purpose of this 
introduction of Poland into the debates on the French 
war was to divert the public attention from what was 
in our power, that is, from a steady cooperation 
against France, to a quarrel with the allies for the 
sake of a Polish war, which, for any useful purpose 
to Poland, he knew it was out of our iiower to make. 
If England can touch Poland ever so remotely, it 
must be through the medium of alliances. But by 
attacking all the combined powers together for their 
supposed unjust aggression upon France, he bound 
them by a new common interest not separately to 
join England for the rescue of Poland. The prop- 
osition could only mean to do what all the writers 



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86 OBSEBVATIONS ON THB 

of his party in the Moruing Chroniclo have aimed 
at persuading the public to, through the whole of the 
last autumn and winter, and to this hour : that is, to 
an alliance with the Jacobins of France, for the pre- 
tended purpose of succoring Poland. This curious 
project would leave to Great Britain no other ally 
in all Europe except its old enemy, France. 

22. Mr. Fox, after the first day's discussion on the 
question for the address, was at length driven to ad- 
mit (to admit rather than to urge, and that very 
faintly) that France had discovered ambitious views, 
whicli none of his partisans, that 1 recollect, (Mr. 
Sheridan excepted,) did, however, either urge or 
admit. What is remarkable enough, all the points 
admitted against the Jacobins were brought to bear 
in their favor as much as those in which they were 
defended. For when Mr. Fox admitted that the con- 
duct of the Jacobins did discover ambition, he always 
ended his admission of their ambitious views by an 
apology for them, insisting that th universally hos- 
tile disposition shown to them lendered tlieir ambi- 
tion a sort of defensive policy. Thus, on whatever 
roads he travelled, they all terminated in recom- 
mending a recognition of their pretended republic, 
and in the plan of sending an ambassador to it. 
This was the burden of all his song: — "Everything 
which we could reasonably hope from war would be 
obtained from treaty." It is to be observed, how- 
ever, that, in all these debates, Mr. Fox never onco 
stated to the House upon what ground it was he con- 
ceived that all the objects of the French system of 
united fanaticism and ambition would instantly be 
given up, ' enever England should think fit to pro- 
pose a treaty. On proposing so strange a recogni- 



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CCNDUCT OF THE MINOBITT. 



27 



tion and so humiliating an embassy as he moved, 
he was bound to produce his authority, if any au- 
thority he had. He ought to have done this the 
rather, because Le Brun, in his first propositions, 
and in his answers to Lord Grenville, defended, on 
principle, not <m temporary convenience, everything 
which was objected to France, and showed not the 
smallest disposition to give up any one of the points 
in discussion. Mr. Fox must also have known that 
the Convention had passed to the order of the day, 
on a proposition to give some sort of explanation or 
modification to the hostile decree of the 19th of No- 
vember for exciting insurrections in all countries, — 
a decree known to be peculiarly pointed at Great 
Britain. Tlie whole proceeding of the French ad- 
ministration was the most remote that could be 
imagined from i anishing any indication of a pa- 
cific disposition: for at the very time in which it 
was pretended that the Jacobins entertained those 
boasted pacific intentions, at the very time in which 
Mr. Fox was urging a treaty with them, not content 
with refusing a modification of the decree for insur- 
rections, they published their ever-memorable decree 
of the 15th of December, 1792, for disorganizing ev- 
ery country in Europe into which they should on any 
occasion set their foot ; and on the 25th and the 30th 
of the same month, they solemnly, and, on the last of 
these days, practically, confirmed that decree. 

23. But Mr. Fox had himself taken good care, in 
the negotiation he proposed, that France should not 
be obliged to make any very great concessions to 
her presumed moderation: for he had laid down 
one general, comprehensive rule, with him (as he 
said) constant and inviolable. This rule, m fact, 









If 












S8 



OBSEBTATIONS ON THE 



ill 

1 



would not only have left to the faction in France 
all the property and power they had usurped at 
home, but most, if not all, of the conquests which 
by their atrocious perfidy and violence they had 
made abroad. The principle laid down by Mr. Fox 
is this, — "Z%af everi/ state, in the conclusion of a war, 
ha« a right to avail itself of its conquests towards a7i 
indemnification" This principle (true or false) is 
totally "^"ary to the policy which this country 
has pure ^ with France at various periods, partio- 
tilarly at the Treaty of Ryswick, in tlie last century, 
and at the Treaty of Aix-larCliapelle, in this. What- 
ever the merits of his rule may bo in the eyes of 
neutral judges, it is a rule which no statesman before 
him ever laid down in favor of the adverse power with 
whom he was to negotiate. The adverse party him- 
self may safely be trusted to take care of his own ag- 
grandizement. But (as if the black boxes of the sev- 
eral parties had been exchanged) Mr. Fox's English 
ambassador, by some odd mistake, would find him- 
self charged with the concerns of France. If we 
were to leave France as she stood at the time when 
Mr. Fox proposed to treat with her, that formidable 
power must have been infinitely strengthened, and 
almost every other power in Europe as much weak- 
ened, by the extraordinary basis which he laid for 
a treaty. For Avignon must go from the Pope ; 
Savoy (at least) from the King of Sardinia, if not 
Nice. Liege, Mentz, Salm, Deux-Pouts, and Basle 
must be separated from Germany. On this side of 
the Rhine, Liege (at least) must be lost to the Em- 
pire, and added to France. Mr. Fox's general prin- 
ciple fully covered all this. How much of these 
territories came within his rule he never attempted 



'li 



';5fc'-^^fc.^3*'"*T^ "a^^ 



»)l 



CONDUCT OF THE MINOBITT. 



29 



to define. He kept a profound silence as to Ger- 
many. As to the Netherlands he was something 
more explicit. He said (if I r iJoUect right) that 
Prance on that side might expect something to- 
wards strengthening her frontier. As to the remain- 
ing parts of the Netherlands, which he supposed 
Franco might consent to surrender, ho went so far 
as to declare that England ought not to permit the 
Emperor to be repossessed of the remainder of the 
ten Provinces, but that the people should choose such 
a form of independent government as they liked. 
This proposition of Mr. Fox was just the arrange- 
ment which tlie usurpation in France had all along 
proposed to make. As the circumstances were at 
that time, and have been ever since, his proposition 
fully indicated what government the Flemings must 
have in the stated extent of what was left to them. 
A government so set up in the Neth^^rlands, whether 
compulsory, or by the choice c-f the sans-culottes, (who 
he well knew were to bo the real electors, and the 
sole electors,) in whatever name it was to exist, must 
evidently depend for its existence, as it had done for 
its original formation, on France. In reality, it must 
have ended in t) ;> point to which, piece by piece, 
the French were then actua'ly bringing all the Neth- 
erlands, — that is, an incorporation with France as a 
body of new Departments, just as Savoy and Liege 
and the rest of their pretended independent popu- 
lar sovereignties have been united to their republic. 
Such an arrangement must have destroyed Austria ; 
it must have left Holland always at the mercy of 
France ; it must totally and forever cut oif all politi- 
cal communication between England and the Conti- 
nent. Such must have been the situation of Europe, 












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OBSERVATIONS ON THB 



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according to Mr. Fox's system of politics, however 
laudable his personal motives may have been in pro- 
posing so complete a change in the whole system of 
Great Britain with regard to all the Continental 
powers. 

24. After it had been generally supposed that all 
public business was over for the session, and that 
Mr. Fox had exhausted all the modes of pressing 
this French scheme, he thought proper to take a stop 
beyond every expectation, and which demonstrated 
his wonderful eagerness and perseverance in his 
cause, as well as the nature and true character of 
the cause itself. This step was taken by Mr. Fox 
immediately after his giving his assent to the grant 
of supply voted to him by Mr. Serjeant Adair and a 
committee of gentlemen who assumed to themselves 
to act in the name of the public. In the instrument 
of his acceptance of this grant, Mr. Fox took occasion 
to assure tliem tha he would always persevere in the 
same conduct which had procured to him so honorable 
a mark of the public approbation. He was as good 
as his word. 

25. It was not long before an opportunity was 
found, or made, for proving the sincerity of his pro- 
fessions, and demonstrating his gratitude to those 
who had given public and unequivocal marks of 
their approbation of his late conduct. One of the 
most virulent of the Jacobin faction, Mr. Gurney, 
a banker at Norwich, had all along distinguished 
himself by his French politics. By the means of this 
gentleman, and of his associates of the same descrip- 
tion, one of the most insidious and dangerous hand- 
bills that ever was seen had been circulated at Nor- 
wich against the war, drawn up in an hypocritical tone 



V 1 

\ I 



1 



CONDUCT OF THB MINOBITT. 



81 



of compassion for the poor. This address to the pop- 
ulace of Norwicli was to play in concert with an ad- 
dress to Mr. Fox ; it was signed by Mr. Ourney and 



fraternity in that town. 

plaudcd for his conduct 

tttid requested, before the 

motion for an immediate 



the higher part of t':e F 
In this paper Mr. Fox 
throughout tb'' ssion, 
prorogation, lo i.«ake a 
peace with Franco. 

20. Mr. Fox did not revoke to this suit : he read- 
ily mid thankfully undertook the task assigned to 
him. Not content, however, with merely falling in 
with their wishes, he proposed a task on his part to 
the gentlemen of Norwich, which was, that they should 
move the people without doors to petition against the 
war. He said, that, without such assistance, little 
good could be expected from anything he might at- 
tempt within the walls of the House of Commons. 
In the mean time, to animate his Norwich friends in 
their endeavors to besiege Parliament, he snatched 
the first opportunity to give notice of a motion 
which he very soon after made, namely, to address 
the crown to make peace with France. The address 
was so worded as to cooperate with the handbill in 
bringing forward matter calculated to inflame the 
manufacturers throughout the kingdom. 

27. In support of his motion, he declaimed in the 
most virulent strain, even beyond any of his former 
invectives, against every power with whom we were 
then, and are now, acting against France. In the 
moral forum some of these powers certainly deserve 
all the ill he said of them ; but the political effect 
aimed at, evidently, was to turn our indignation from 
France, with whom we were at war, upon Russia, or 
Prussia, or Austria, or Sardinia, or all of them to- 






'•I 



I 



'*!' 






) i\ 



32 



OBSEBVATIONS ON THE 



^1 

m 



4''' 

I' 



gether. In consequence of his knowledge that we 
could not effectually do without them, and his resolu- 
tion that we should not act with them, he proposed, 
that, having, as he asserted, "obtained the only 
avowed object of the war (the evacviation of Hol- 
land) we ought to conclude an instant peace." 

28. Mr. Fox coild not be ignorant of the mis- 
taken basis upon which his motion was grounded. 
He was not ignorant, that, though the attempt of 
Dumouriez on Holland, (so very near succeeding,) 
and the navigation of the Scheldt, (a part of the same 
piece,) were among the immediate causes, they were 
by no means the only causes, alleged for Parliament's 
taking that oflfence at the proceedings of France, 
for which the Jacobins were so prompt in declar- 
ing war upon this kingdom. Other full as weighty 
causes liad been alleged : they were, — 1. The general 
overbearing and desperate ambition of that faction ; 

2. Their actual attacks on every nation in Europe ; 

3. Their usurpation of territories in the Empire with 
the governments of which they had no pretence of 
quarrel; 4. Their perpetual and irrevocable consoli- 
dation with their own dominions of every territory 
of the Netherlands, of Germany, and of Italy, of 
which they got a temporary possession ; 6. The mis- 
chiefs attending the prevalence of their system, which 
would make the success of their ambitious designs 
a new and peculiar spncies of calamity in the world ; 
6. Their formal, public decrees, particularly those of 
the 19th of November and 15th and 25th of Decem- 
ber ; 7. Their notorious attempts to undermine the 
Constitution of this country ; 8. Their public recep- 
tion of deputations of traitors for that direct purpose ; 
9. Their murder of their sovereign, declared by most 



CONDUCT OP THE MINOBITT. 



33 



of the members of the Convention, who spoke with 
their vote, (without a disavowal from any,) to be per- 
petrated as an example to all kings and a precedent 
for all subjects to follow. All tliese, and not the 
Scheldt alone, or the invasion of Holland, were urged 
by the minister, and by Mr.Windham, by myself, and 
by others who spoke in those debates, as causes for 
bringing France to a sense of her wrong in the war 
which she declared against us. Mr. Fox well knew 
that not one man argued for the necessity of a vigor- 
ous resistance to France, who did not state the war 
as being for the very existence of the social order 
here, and in every part of Europe, — wlio did not 
state his opinion that this war was not at all a for- 
eign war of empire, but as much for our liberties, 
properties, laws, and religion, and even more so, 
than any we had ever been engaged in. This was 
the war which, according to Mr. Fox and Mr. Gur- 
ney, we were to abandon before the enemy had felt 
in the slightest degree the impression of our arms. 

29. Had Mr. Fox's disgraceful proposal been com- 
plied with, this kingdom would have been stained with 
a blot of perfidy hitherto without an example in our 
history, and with far less excuse than any act of per- 
fidy which we find in the history of any other nation. 
The moment when, by the incredible exertions of Aus- 
tria, (very little through ours,) the temporary deliv- 
erance of Holland (in effect our own deliverance) had 
been achieved, he advised the House instantly to aban- 
don her to that very enemy from whose arras she had 
freed ourselves and the closest of our allies. 

30. But we are not to be imposed on by forms of 
language. We must act on the substance of things. 
To abandon Austria in this manner was to abandon 



t'!' 



> 'ii- 



VOL. V. 



84 



OBSERVATIONS ON THE 



yn 



1* f 



u 



I; 

i 



Holland itself. For suppose France, encouraged and 
strengthened as she must have been by our treach- 
erous desertion, — suppose France, I say. to succeed 
against Austria, (as she had succeeded the very year 
before,) England would, after its disarmament, have 
nothing in the world but the inviolable faith of Jaco- 
binism and the steady politics of anarchy to depend 
upon, against Iiance's renewing the very same at- 
tempts upon Holland, and renewing them (^consider- 
ing what Holland was and is) with much better pros- 
pects of success. Mr. Fox must have been well 
aware, that, if we were to break with the greater 
Continental powers, and particularly to come to a 
rupture with them, in the violent and intemperate 
mode in which he would have made the breach, the 
defence of Holland against a foreign enemy and a 
strong domestic faction must hereafter rest solely 
upon England, without the chance of a single ally, 
either on that or on any other occasion. So far as 
to the pretended sole object of the war, which Mr. 
Fox supposed to be so completely obtained (but 
which then was not at all, and at this day is not 
completely obtained) as to leave us nothing else to 
do than to cultivate a peaceful, quiet correspondence 
with those quiet, peaceable, and moderate people, the 
Jacobins of France. 

81. To induce us to this, Mr. Fox labored hard to 
make it appear that the powers with whom we acted 
were full as ambitious and as perfidious as the French. 
This might be true as to other nations. They had not, 
however, been so to u» or to Holland. He produced 
no proof of active ambition and ill faith against Aus- 
tria. But supposing the combined powers had been 
all thus faithless, and been all alike so, there was one 



CONDUCl OP THE MINOEITT. 



35 



circumstance which made an essential differcp;.e be- 
tween them and France. I need not, therefore, be at 
the trouble of contesting this point, — which, however, 
in this latitude, and as at all affecting Great Britain 
and Holland, I denj utterly. Be it so. But the great 
monarchies have it in their power to keep thdr faith, 
if they please, because they are governments of estab- 
lished and recognized authority at home and abroad. 
France had, in reality, no government. Tlie very 
factions who exercised power had no stability. The 
French Convention had no powo*^ of peace or war. 
Supposing the Convention to be free, (most assuredly 
it was not,) they had sliown no disposition to abandon 
their projects. Thoiigh long driven out of Liege, it 
was not many days before Mr. Fox's motion that 
they still continued to claim it as a country wliich 
their principles of fraternity bov.ud them to protect, — 
that is, to subdue and to regulate at their pleasure. 
That party which Mr. Fox inclined most to favor and 
trust, and from which he must have received his as- 
surances, (if any he did receive,) that is, the Bris- 
sotins, were then either prisoners or fugitives. The 
party which prevailed over them (that of Dauton and 
Marat) was itself in a tottering condition, and was dis- 
owned by a very great part of France. To say nothing 
of tlie royal party, who were powerful and growing, 
and who had full as good a right to claim to be the 
legitimate government as any of the Parisian factions 
with wliom he proposed to treat, — or rather, (as it 
seemed to me,) to surrender at discretion. 

32. But when Mr. Fox began to come from his 
general hopes of the moderation of the Jacobins to 
particulars, he put the case that they might not per- 
haps be willing to surrender Savoy. Ho certainly 



I i 



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■ i\ 

m 



86 



OBSEEVATIONS ON THE 






it 



I'l 



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w 



was not willing to contest that point with them, but 
plainly and explicitly (as I understood him) pro- 
posed to let them keep it, — though he knew (or he 
was much worse informed than he would be thought) 
that England had at the very time agreed on the 
terms of a treaty with the King of Sardinia, of which 
the recovery of Savoy was the cami fcederis. In the 
teeth of this treaty, Mr. Fox proposed a direct and 
most scai:dalous breach of our faith, formally and 
recently given. But to surrender Savoy was to sur- 
render a great deal more than so many square acres 
of land or so much revenue. In its consequences, 
the surrender of Savoy was to make a surrender to 
France of Switzerland and Italy, of both which coun- 
tries Savoy is the key, — as it is known to ordinary 
speculators in politics, though it may not be known 
to the weavers in Norwich, w' o, it seems, are by Mr. 
Fox called to be the judges in this matter. 

A sure way, indeed, to encourage France not to 
make a surrender of this key of Italy and Switzer- 
land, or of Mentz, the key of Germany, or of any 
other object whatsoever which she holds, is to let 
her see that the people of England raise a clamor 
against the war before terms are so much as proposed 
on any side. From that moment the Jacobins would 
be masters of the terms. They would know that 
Parliament, at all hazards, would force the king 
to a separate peace. The crown could not, in that 
case, have any use of its judgment. Parliament 
could not possess more judgment than the crown, 
when besieged (as Mr. Fox proposed to Mr. Gurney) 
by the cries of the manufacturers. This description 
of men Mr. Fox endeavored in his speech by every 
method to irritate and inflame. In efiect, his two 



CONDUCT OP THE MINOMTT. 



37 



speeches were, through the whole, nothing more than 
an arapUfication of the Norwich handbill. He rest- 
ed His greatest part of his argument on the distress 
of trade, which he attributed to the war ; though it 
was obvious to any tolerably good observation, and, 
much more, must have been clear to such an obser- 
vation as his, that the then difficulties of the trade 
and manufacture could have no sort of connection 
with our share in it. The war had hardly begun. 
We had suffered neither by spoil, nor by defeat, nor 
by disgrace of any kind. Public redit was so little 
impaired, that, instead of being supported by any 
extraordinary aids from individuals, it advanced a 
credit to individuals to the amount of five millions 
for the support of trade and manufactures under 
their temporary difficulties, a thing before never 
heard of, — a thing of which I do not commend the 
policy, but only state it, to show that Mr. Fox's 
ideas of the effects of war were without any trace 
of foundation. 

33. It is impossible not to connect the arguments 
and proceedings of a party wi h that of its leader, — 
especially when not disavowed or controlled by him. 
Mr. Fox's partisans declaim against all the powers 
of Europe, except the Jacobins, just as he does ; but 
not having the same reasons for management and 
caution which he has, they speak out. Ho satisfies 
himself merely with making his invectives, and leaves 
others to draw the conclusion. But they produce 
their Polish interposition for the express purpose 
of leading to a French alliance. They urge their 
French peace in order to make a junction with the 
Jacobins to oppose the powers, whom, in their lan- 
guage, they call despots, and their leagues, a com- 



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SI 






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V f' 



-1 



W\ 



hi 



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v 



g3 OBSBBVATIONS ON THE 

bination of despots. Indeed, no man can look on 
the present posture of Europe with the least degree 
of discernment, who wiU not be thoroughly con- 
vinced that England must be the fast friend or the 
determined enemy of France. There is no medium; 
and I do not think Mr. Fox to be so dull as not to 
observe this. His peace would have involved us m- 
stautly in the most extensive and most ruinous wars, 
at the same time that it would have made a broad 
highway (across which no human wisdom could put 
an effectual barrier) for a mutual intercourse with 
the fraternizing Jacobins on both sides, the conse- 
quences of which those will certainly not provide 
against who do not dread or dislike them. 

34 It is not amiss in this place to enter a little 
more fully into the spirit of the principal arguments 
on which Mr. Fox thought proper to rest this his 
grand aud concluding motion, particularly such as 
were drawn from the internal state of our affairs. 
Under a specious appearance, (not uncommonly put 
on by men of unscrupulous ambition,) that of tender- 
ness and compassion to the poor, he did his best to 
appeal to the judgments of the meanest and most 
ignorant of the people on the merits of the war. He 
had before done something of the same dangerous 
kind in his printed letter. The ground of a poUtical 
war is of all things that which the poor laborer and 
mauuracturer are the least capable of conceiving. 
Tliis sort of people know in general that they must 
suffer by war. It is a matter to which they are suffi- 
ciently competent, because it is a matter of feeling. 
The caum of a war are not matters of feeling, but of 
reason and foresight, and often of remote considera- 
tions, and of a very great combination of circumstaa- 



■liiMili 



CONDUCT OP THE MINORITY. 



39 



cea which they are utterly incapable of comprehend- 
ing: and, indeed, it is not every man in the highest 
classes who is altogether equal to it. Nothmg, in a 
general sense, appears to me less fair and justifiable 
(even if no attempt were made to uiflamo the passions) 
than to submit a matter on discussion to a tribunal 
incapable of judging of more than one side of the 
question. It is at •xst as unjustifiable to inflame 
the passions of such judges against that Bide in ia- 
vor of which they cannot so much as comprehend 
the arguments. Before the prevalence of the French 
system, (which, as far as it has gone, has extinguished 
the salutary prejudice called our country,) nobody 
was more sensible of this important truth than Mr. 
Fox ; and nothing was more proper and pertinent, 
or was more felt at the time, than his reprimand 
to Mr Wilberforce for an inconsiderate expression 
which tended to call in the judgment of the poor to 
estimate the policy of war upon the standard of the 
taxes they may be obliged to pay towards its support. 
35 It is fatally known that the great object ot 
the Jacobin system is, to excite the lowest description 
of the people to range themselves under ambitious 
men for the pillage and destruction of the more 
eminent orders and classes of the community, ihe 
thing, therefore, that a man not fanatically attached 
to that dreadful project would most studiously avoid 
is, to act a part with the French Propagandists, m 
attributing (as they constantly do) all wars, and all 
the consequences of wars, to the pride of those orders 
and to their contempt of the weak and indigent part 
of the society. The ruling Jacobins insist upon it, 
that even the wars which they carry on with so much 
obstinacy against all nations are made to prevent the 



;i»; . 



1" 



f ! 



I 



m 






iSL 



ni 



40 



OBC ^BVATIONS ON THE 



poor from any longer being the instruments and vic- 
tims of kings, nobles, and the aristocracy of burghers 
and rich men. They pretend that the destruction of 
kings, nobles, and the aristocracy of burghers and 
rich men is the only means of establishing an uni- 
versal and perpetual peace. This is the great drift 
of all their writings, from the time of the meeting of 
tiie states of France, in 1789, to the publication of 
tlie last Morning Chronicle. They insist that even 
the war which with so much '< ■" -S they have 
declared against all nations is to prevent the poor 
from becoming the instruments and victims of these 
persons and descriptions. It is but too easy, if 
you once teach poor laborers and mechanics to defy 
their prejudices, and, as this has been done with an 
industry scarcely credible, to substitute the princi- 
ples of fraternity in the room of that salutary preju- 
dice called our country, — it is, I say, but too easy 
to persuade them, agreeably to what Mr. Fox hints 
in his public letter, that this war is, and that the 
other wars have been, the wars of kings ; it is easy 
to persuade them that the terrors even of a foreign 
conquest are not terrors for them; it is easy to per- 
suade them, that, for their part, they have nothing 
to lose, — and that their condition is not likely to be 
altered for the worse, whatever party may happen 
to prevail in the war. Under any circumstances 
this doctrine is highly dangerous, as it tends to 
make separate parties of the higher and lower or- 
ders, and to put their interests on a different bot- 
tom. But if the enemy you have to deal with 
should appear, as France now appears, under the 
very name and title of the deliverer of the poor 
and the chastiser of the rich, the former class would 



,,j|,AAh> 



CONDUCT OF THE MINORITY. 



41 



readily become not an indifferent spectator of the 
war, but \irould be ready to enlist in the faction of 
the enemy, — which they would consider, though un- 
der a foreign name, to be more connected with them 
than an adverse description in the same land. All 
the props of society would be drawn from us by these 
doctrines, and the very foundations of the public de- 
fence would give way in an instant. 

36. There is no point which the faction of frater- 
nity in England have labored more than to excite in 
the poor the horror of any war with France upon any 
occasion. When they found that their open attacks 
upon our Constitution in favor of a French republic 
were for the present repelled, they put that matter 
out of sight, and have taken up the more plausible 
and popular ground of general peace, upon merely 
general principles ; although these very men, in the 
correspondence of their clubs with those v>f France, 
had reprobated the neutrality which now they so ear- 
nestly press. But, in reality, their maxim was, and 
is, " Peace and alliance with France, and war with 
the rest of the world." 

37. This last motion of Mr. Fox bound up the 
whole of his politics during the session. This mo- 
tion had many circumstances, particularly in the 
Norwich correspondence, by which the mischief of 
all the others was aggravated beyond measure. Yet 
this last motion, far the worst of M) . Fox's proceed- 
ings, was the best supported of any of them, except 
his amendment to the address. The Duke of Port- 
land had directly engaged to support the war; — 
here was a motion as directly made to force the 
crown to put an end to it before a blow had been 
struck. Tlie efforts of the faction have so prevailed 



'! U 



I' I: 



I. 



'i 









48 



OBSERVATIONS ON TBI 



mf 



I 

II 

' i 

i ^ 



!! 



I 









that some of his Grace's nearest friends have actual- 
ly voted for that motion ; some, after showing them- 
selves, went away; others did not appear at all. 
So it must be, where a man is for any time sup- 
ported from personal considerations, without refer- 
ence to his public conduct. Through the whole of 
this business, the spirit of fraternity appears to me 
to have been the governing principle. It might he 
shameful for any man, above the vulgar, to show so 
blind a partiality even to his own country as Mr. 
Fox appears, on all occasions, this session, to have 
shown to France. Had Mr. Fox been a ministe , 
and proceeded on the pruiciples laid down by hv.. 
I believe there is little doubt he would have b ; i 
considered as the most criminal statesman that ever 
lived in this country. I do not know why a states- 
man out of place is not to be judged in the same 
manner, unless we can excuse him by pleading in 
his favor a total iudifiference to principle, and that 
he would act and think in quite a different way, if 
he were in office. This I will not suppose. One 
may think tter of him, and that, in case of his 
power, he might change his mind. But supposing, 
that, from better or from worse motives, he might 
change his mind on his acquisition of the favor of 
the crown, I seriously fear, that, if the king should 
to-moriow put power into his hands, and that his 
good genius would inspire him with maxims very 
different from those he has promulgated, he would 
not be able to get the better of the ill temper and 
the ill doctrines he has been the means of exciting 
and propagating throughout, the kingdom. From the 
very beginning of their inhimian and unprovoked 
rebellion and tyrannic usurpation, he has covered 






I' I 
i'. '> 



I 



■ 



{ 



COKDnCT OP THE MINOBITY. 



43 



the predominant faction in France, and their adher- 
ents here, with the most exaggerated panegyrics; 
neither has he missed a single opportunity of abus- 
ing and vilifying those who, in uniform concurrence 
with the Dnlce of Portland's and Lord Fitzwilliam's 
opinion, have maintained the true grounds of the 
Revolution Settlement in 1688. He lamented all 
the defeats of the French ; he rejoiced in all their 
victories, — even when these victories threatened to 
overwhelm the continent of Europe, and, by facili- 
tating their means of penetrating into Holland, to 
bruK' this most dreadful of all evils with irresistible 
force to the very doors, if not into the very heart, 
of our country. To this hour he always speaks of 
every tliought of overturning the French Jacobinism 
by force, on the part of any power whatsoever, as an 
attempt unjust and cruel, and which he reprobates 
with horror. If any of the French Jacobin leaders 
are spoken of with hatred or scorn, he falls upon 
those who take that liberty with all the zeal and 
warmth with which men of honor defend their par- 
ticular and bosom friends, when attacked. He al- 
ways represents their cause as a cause of liberty, 
and all who oppose It as partisans of despotism. He 
obstinately contiuues to consider the great and grow- 
ing vices, cri.nos, and disorders of that country as 
only evils of passage, which are to produce a per- 
manently happy state of order and freedom. He 
i-epresents these disorders exactly in the same way 
and with tlic same limitations which are used by oiie 
of the two great Jacobin factious : I mean that of P6- 
tion and Brissot. Like them, he studiously confines 
his horror and reprobation only to the massacres 
of the 2d of September, and passes by those of the 









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ja ■ 



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44 



')H-*KB\ A7I0NS ON THB 






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lOth of Augusi. as veil !.<» the imprisomnent and 
deposition of tho king, uiucii wcro the consequences 
of tlmt day, as indeed were liie massacres themselves 
to which he confines his censure, though they were 
not actually i)erpetrated till early in September. 
Like that faction, he condemns, not the deposition, 
or the proposed exile or perpetual imprisonment, 
but only the murder of the king. Mr. Sheridan, 
on every occasion, palliates all their massacres com- 
mitted in every part of France, as the effects of a 
natural indignation at the exorbitances of despotism, 
and of the dread of the people of returning under 
that yoke. He has thus taken occasion to load, not 
the actors in this wickedness, but the government of 
a mild, merciful, beneficent, and patriotic priuco, and 
his suffering, faithful subjects, with all the crimes 
of the new anarchical tyranny under which the one 
has been murdered and the others are oppressed. 
Those continual either praises or palliating ai)ologies 
of everything done in Fi-ance, and those invectives 
as uniformly voraited out upon all those who veu'aire 
to express their disapprobation of such proceedings, 
coming from a man of Mr. Fox's fame and author- 
ity, and one who is considered as the person to whom 
a great party of the wealthiest men of the kingdom 
look up. have been the cause why the principle of 
Frencli traternity formerly gained the ground v. hich 
at one time it 1 obtained in this country. It will 
infallibly recover itself again, and in ten times a 
greater degree, if the kind of peace, in the mauiier 
which he preaches ever shall be eslablished with tlie 
reigning faction in France. 

38. So far as to the French practi'-'-s witl regard 
to France and the other powers of Lirope. As t = 



CONDUCT OF -HE MTNOBTTT. 



45 



„ard to the cou- 



ly, oil a!' occa- 



their priuclplea and doctrii s with 
stitution 01 states, Mr. Fo !^tudi<> 
sious, and .udoed when in ccasi ;.ills i it, (as 
on the debate of the petition for rci ^rm,) b uigs for^ 
ward and a ^erts thci. fundai icntal and fau princi- 
ple, pregnant with every misi-hief and every crime, 
iianiely, that ' In every couutiy the people is the le- 
j^iUmato sovereigi: "': exactly conformable to tlie deo- 
Faration of the French clubs and legislators : — " La 
souverainet6 est une, indivisible, imlimahle, et impre- 
x.rdibh; ellc appartient i la nation; aucuiie <.^o- 
tion dii peuple ni aucun indiiidu ne pent -^"en at^ 
tribuer rexon■i^'^" This coi ibunds, in a man r 
equally mi chi'!Vous and stupid, the origin of a ^ v- 
crnmcnt from the peopio with it- ontinuance in tlio? 
hands. 1 believe that such a ctrine has ever beeti 
liearu of in any public act < . a.iy govenment ^h^r ■ 
soever, until it was adojttcd (I think frui; the it- 
ings <)F Rousseau) by the French As^om ,iies .ao 
have made it the basis .f their Const tulio at me. 
and of t!ie m^iter of inoir apostolate in e ' coun- 
try. Tliest >ud other wild doclarafotss u abstract 
principle, Mr. Pox says, are in th( aisoives } rf«ctly 
right and true though in some ca--es i c .dlows le 
Frencli draw absurd coii^-quences .on them, liut 
1 com 'ive he is mistaken. The con-^qu re 

most 1 o.cally, thoug? most mischie- n 

from lie premises a I principles b vicked 

and ui. crac iu faction. Tlie fauU is u foun- 

dation. 

39. Eyfore society, in a multitude of men, it i. obvi- 
ous that sovoreiguty and subjection are ideas which 
cannot exist. It is the compact on which society is 
formed tl: it maki , both. But to appose the people, 



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46 



OBSEBVATIONS ON THE 



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Ij 



contrary to their compacts, both to give away and 
retain the same thing is altogether absurd. It is 
worse, for it supposes in any strong combination of 
men a power and right of always dissolving the so- 
cial union ; which power, however, if it exists, ren- 
ders them agaui as little sovereigns as subjects, but 
a mere unconnected multitude. It is not easy to 
state for what good end, at a time like this, when 
the foundations of all ancient and prescriptive gov- 
ernments, s\ich as ours, (to which people submit, not 
because they have chosen them, but because they are 
born to them,) are undermined by perilous theories, 
that Mr. Fox should be so fond of referring to those 
theories, upon all occasions, even though specula- 
tively they might be true, — which God forbid they 
should ! Particularly I do not see the reason why 
he should be so fond of declaring that the principles 
of the Revolution have made the crown of Great Brit- 
ain elective, — why he thinks it seasonable to preach 
up with so much earnestness, for now three years to- 
gether, the doctrine of resistance and revolution at 
all, — or to assert that our last Revolution, of 1688, 
stands on the same or similar principles with that 
of France. We are not called upon to bring forward 
these doctrines, which are hardly ever resorted to but 
in cases of extremity, and where they are followed by 
correspondent actions. We are not called upon by 
any circumstance, that I know of, which can justify 
a revolt, or which demands a revolution, or can make 
an election of a successor to the crown necessary, 
whatever latent right may be supposed to exist for 
effectuating any of these purposes. 

40. Not the least alarming of the proceedings of 
Mr. Fox and his friends in this session, especially 



CONDUCT OP THE MINOBITT. 



47 



taken in concurrence with their whole proceedings 
with regard to France and its principles, is their ea- 
gerness at this season, under pretence of Parliamen- 
tary retorms, (a project which had been for some 
time rather dormant,) to discredit and disgrace the 
House of Commons. For this purpose these gentle- 
men had found a way to insult the House by several 
atrocious lib-.'s in the form of petitions. In partic 
ular they brought up a libel, or rather a complete 
digest of libellous matter, from the club called the 
iViends of the People. It is, indeed, at once the 
most audacious and the most insidious of all the per- 
formances of that kind which have yet appeared. It 
is said to be the penmanship of Mr. Tiemey, to 
bring whom into Parliament the Duke of Portland 
formerly had taken a good deal of pains, and ex- 
pended, as I hear, a considerable sum of money. 

41. Among the circumstances of danger from that 
piece, and from its precedent, it is observable that 
this is the first petition (if I remember right) coming 
from a club or association, signed hy individuals, detwfr 
ing neither local residence nor corporate capacity. This 
mode of petition, not being strictly illegal or informal, 
though in its spirit in the highest degree mischiev- 
ous, may and will lead to other things of that nature, 
tending to bring these clubs and associations to the 
French model, and to make them in the end answer 
French purposes : I mean, that, without legal names, 
these clubs will be led to assume political capacities ; 
that they may debate the forms of Constitution ; and 
that from tlieir meetings they may insolently dictate 
their will to the regular authorities of the kingdom, in 
the manner in which the Jacobin clubs issue their 
mandates to the National Assembly or the National 



■4 
i 
I 









48 



0BSEBVATI0N8 ON THE 



Uf 



Convention. The audacious remonstrance, I observe, 
is signed by all of that association (the Friends of the 
People) who are mt in Parliament, and it was sup- 
ported most strenuously by all the associators who are 
memherg, with Mr. Fox at their head. He and they 
contended for referring this libel to a committee. 
Upon the question of that reference they grounded 
all their debate for a change in the constitution of 
Parliament. The pretended petition is, in fact, a 
regular charge or impeachment of the House of 
Commons, digested into a number of articles. Tliis 
plan of reform is not a criminal impeachment, but 
a matter of prudence, to be submitted to the public 
wisdom, vhich must be as well apprised of the facts 
as petitioi ors can be. But those accusers of the 
House of Commons hare proceeded upon the prin- 
ciples of a criminal process, and have had the effron- 
tery to offer proof on each article. 

42. This charge the party of Mr. Fox maintained 
article by article, beginning with the first, — namely, 
the interference of peers at elections, and their nomi- 
nating in effect several of the members of the House 
of Commons. In the printed list of grievances which 
they made out on the occasion, and in support of 
their charge, is found the borough for which, under 
Lord Fitzwilliam's influence, I now sit. By this re- 
monstrance, and its object, they hope to defeat the 
operation of property in elections, and in reality to 
dissolve tlio connection and communication of inter- 
ests which makes the Houses of Parliament a mutual 
support to each other. Mr. Pox and the Friends of 
the People are not 10 ignorant as not to know that 
peers do not interfere in elections as pe ^rs, but as 
men of property ; they well know that the House 



CONDUCT OP THE MINORITY. 



49 



of Lords is by itself the feeblest part of the Consti- 
tution ; they know that the House of Lords is sup- 
ported only by its connections with the crown and 
with the House of Commons, and that without tliis 
double connection the Lords could not exist a single 
year. They know that all these parts of our Con- 
stitution, whilst they are balanced as opposing inter- 
ests, are also connected as friends ; otlierwise nothing 
but confusion could be the result of such a complex 
Constitution. It is natural, therefore, that they who 
wish the common destruction of the whole and of 
all its parts should contend for their total separation. 
But as the House of Commons is that link which con- 
nects both the other parts of the Constitution (the 
Crown and the Lords) with the mass of the people, it 
is to that link (as it is natural enough) that their 
incessant attacks are directed. That artificial rep- 
resentation of the people being once discredited and 
overturned, all goes to pieces, and nothing but a 
plain French democracy or arbitrary monarchy can 
possibly exist. 

43. Some of these gentlemen who have attacked 
the House of Commons lean to a representation of the 
people by the head, — that is, to individual repreaen- 
tation. None of them, that I recollect, except Mr. 
Fox, directly rejected it. It is remarkable, how- 
ever, that he only rejected it by simply declaring 
an opinion. He let all the argument go against 
his opinion. All the proceedings and arguments 
of his reforming friends lead to individual repre- 
sentation, and to nothing else. It deserves to be 
attentively observed, that this individual representa- 
tion is the only plan of their reform which has been 
explicitly proposed. In the mean time, the conduct 

VOL. V. 4 






'II 



\ i 



m 



50 



OBSEBVATIONS Orf THE 



^1 



; I, 



of Mr. Fox appears to be far more inexplicable, on 
any good ground, than theirs, who propose the in- 
dividual representation ; for he neither proposes any- 
thing, nor even suggests that he has anything to 
propose, in lieu of the present mode of constituting 
the House of Commons ; on the contrary, he de- 
clares against all the plans which have yet been 
suggested, either from himself or others: yec, thus 
unprovided with any plan whatsoever, he pressed for- 
ward this unknown reform with all possible warmth ; 
and for that purpose, in a speech of several hours, 
he nrged the referring to a committee the libellous 
impeachment of the House of Commons by the asso- 
ciation of the Friends of the People. But for Mr. 
Fox to discredit Parliament as it stands, to counte- 
nance leagues, covenants, and associations for its 
further discredit, to render it perfectly odious and 
contemptible, and at the same time to propose noth- 
ing at all in place of what he disgraces, is worse, if 
possible, than to contend for personal individual rep- 
resentation, and is little less than demanding, in plain 
teims, to bring on plain anarchy. 

44. Mr. Fox and these gentlemen have for the 
present been defeated ; but they are neither con- 
verted nor disheartened. They have solemnly de- 
clared that they will persevere until they shall have 
obtained their ends, — persisting to assert that the 
House of Commons not only is not the true repre- 
sentative of the people, but that it does not answer 
the purpose of such representation: most of them 
insist that all the debts, the taxes, and the burdens 
of all kinds on the people, with every other evil 
and inconvenience which we have suffered since the 
Bevolution, have been owing solely to an House of 



CONDUCT OF THE MINOBITT. 



51 



Commons which does not speak the sense of the 
people. 

45. It is also not to be forgotten, that Mr. Pox, 
and all who hold with him, on this, as on all other 
occasions of pretended reform, most bitterly reproach 
Mr. Pitt with treachery, in declining to support the 
scandalous charges and indefinite projects of this in- 
famous libel from the Pnends of the People. By the 
animosity with wh'oh they persecute all those who 
grow cold in this cause of pretended reform, they 
hope, that, if, through levity, inexperience, or ambi- 
tion, any young person ( like Mr. Pitt, for instance) 
happens to be once embarked in theu- design, they 
shall by a false sliame keep him fast in it forever. 
Many they have so liampered. 

46. I know it is usual, when the peril and alarm 
of the hour appears to be a little overblown, to think 
no more of the matter. But, for my j art, I look back 
with horror on what we have escaped, and am full 
of anxiety with regard to the dangers which in my 
opinion are still to be apprehended botli at home 
and abroad. This business has cast deep roots. 
Whether it is necessarily connected in theory with 
Jacobinism is not worth a dispute. Tlie two things 
are connected in fact. The partisans of the one are 
the partisans of the other. I know it is common 
with those who are favorable to the gentlemen of 
Mr. Fox's party and to their leader, though not at 
all devoted to all their reforiuing projects or their 
Gallicau politics, to argue, in palliation of their con- 
duct, that it is not in their power to do all the harm 
whicli tlieir actions evidently tend to. It is said, 
that, as the people will not support them, they may 
safely be indulged in those eccentric fancies of re- 



mii 



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ii 



•i! 



n 



. ^ 



i^ii 



It 

m 



K1 

ir 



ii 



52 



OBSEBVATIONS ON THE 



fi 



form, and those theories which lead to nothing. 
This apology is not very much to the honor of 
those politicians whose interests are to be adhered 
to in defiance of their conduct. I cannot flatter my- 
self that these incessant attacks on the constitution 
of Parliament are safe. It is not in my power to de- 
spise the unceasing eiforts of a confederacy of about 
fifty persons of eminence: men, for the far greater 
part, of very ample fortunes either in possession or 
in expectancy ; men of decided characters and vehe- 
ment passions ; men of very great talents of all kinds, 
of much boldness, and of the greatest possible spirit 
of artifice, intrigue, adventure, and enterprise, all 
operating with unwearied activity and perseverance. 
These gentlemen are much stronger, too, without doors 
than some calculate. They have the more active part 
of the Dissenters with them, and the whole clan of 
speculators of all denominations, — a large and grow- 
ing species. They have that floating multitude which 
goes with events, and which suffers the loss or gain 
of a battle to decide its opinions of right and wrong. 
As long as by every art this party keeps alive a spirit 
of disaffection against the very Constitution of the 
kingdom, and attributes, as lately it has been in the 
habit of doing, all the public misfortunes to that Con- 
stitution, it is absolutely impossible but that some mo- 
ment must arrive in which they will be enabled to 
produce a pretended reform and a real revolution. 
If ever the body of this compound Constitution of ours 
is subverted, either in favor of unlimited monarchy 
or of wild democracy, that ruin will most certainly be 
the result of this very sort of machinations against 
the House of Commons. It is not from a confidence 
in the views or intentions of any statesman that I 



CONDUCT OP THE MINOBITT. 



68 



think he is to be indulged in these perilous amuse- 
ments. 

47. Before it is made the great object of any man's 
political life to raise another to power, it is right to 
consider what are the real dispositions of the person 
to be so elevated. We are not to form our judgment 
on these dispositions from the rules and principles of 
a court of justice, but from those of private discre- 
tion, — not looking for what would serve to criminate 
another, but what is sufficient to direct ourselves. 
By a comparison of a series of the discourses and 
actions of certain men for a reasonable length of 
time, it is impossible not to obtain sufficient indication 
of the general tendency of their views and principles. 
There is no other rational niode of proceeding. It 
is true, that in some one o.' two perhaps not well- 
weighed expressions, or some one or two unconnect- 
ed and doubtful affairs, we may and ought to judge of 
the actions or words by our previous good or ill opin- 
ion of the man. But this allowance has its bounds. 
It does not extend to any regular course of system- 
atic action, or of constant and repeated discourse. It 
is against every principle of common sense, and of 
justice to one's self and to the public, to judge of a 
series of speeches and actions from the man, and not 
of the man from the whole tenor of his language and 
conduct. I have stated the above matters, not as in- 
ferring a criminal charge of evil intention. If I had 
meant to do so, perhaps they are stated with tolera- 
ble exactness. But I have no such view. The in- 
tentions of these gentlemen may be very pure. I do 
not dispute it. But I think they are in some great 
error. If these things are done by Mr. Fox and his 
friends with good intentions, they are not done less 






( 1 






< i 

4 



64 



OBSEBVAHONS ON THE 






i, 

u 



it 



dangeronslj ; for it shows these good intentions are 
not under tho direction of safe maxims and princi« 
pies. 

48. Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, and the gentlemen 
who call themselves the Phalanx, have not been so 
very indulgent to others. They have thought proper 
to ascribe to those members of the House of Com- 
mons, who, in exact agreement with the Duke of 
Portland and Lord Pitzwilliam, abhor and oppose the 
French system, the basest and most unworthy mo- 
tives for their conduct ; — as if none could oppose 
that atheistic, immoral, and impolitic project set up 
in France, so disgraceful and destructive, as I con- 
ceive, to human nature itself, but with some sinister 
intentions. They treat those members on all occa- 
sions with a sort of lordly insolence, though they are 
persons that (whatever homage they may pay to the 
eloquence of the gentlemen who choose to look down 
tipon them with scorn) are not their inferiors in any 
particular which calls for and obtains just considera- 
tion from the public: not their inferiors in knowl- 
edge of public law, or of the Constitution of the 
kingdom; not their inferiors in their acquaintance 
with its foreign and domestic interests ; not their 
inferiors in experience or practice of business; not 
their inferiors in moral character; not their inferi- 
ors in the proofs they have given of zeal and indus 
try in the service of their country. Without deny- 
ing to these gentlemen the respect and consideration 
which it is allowed justly belongs to them, we see 
no reason why th3y should not as well be obliged to 
defer something to our opinions as that we should 
be bound blindly and servilely to follow those of 
Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Grey, Mr. Courtenay, 



CONDUCT OP THE XINOBITT. 



66 



Mr. Lambton, Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Taylor, and oth- 
ers. We are members of Parliament and their 
equals. We never consider ourselves as their fol- 
lowers. These gentlemen (some of them hardly 
bom when some of us came into Parliament) have 
thought proper to treat us as deserters, —as if we 
had been listed into their phalanx like soldiers, and 
had sworn to live and die in their French principles. 
This insolent claim of superiority on their part, and 
of a sort of vassalage to them on that of other mem- 
bers, is what no liberal mind will submit to bear. 

49. The society of the Liberty of the Press, the 
Whig Club, and the Society for Constitutional In- 
formation, and (I believe) the Friends of the Peo- 
ple, as well as some clubs in Scotland, have, indeed, 
declared, "that their confidence in and attachment 
to Mr. Fox has lately been confirmed, strengthened, 
and increased by the calumnies " (as they are called) 
" against him." It is true, Mr. Fox and his friends 
have those testimonies in their favor, against certain 
old friends of the Duke of Portland. Yet, on a full, 
serious, and, I think, dispassionate consideration of 
the whole of what Mr. Fox and Mr. Sheridan and 
their friends have acted, said, and written, in this 
session, instead of doing anything wliich might tend 
to procure power, or any share of it whatsoever, to 
them or to their phalanx, (as they call it,) or to in- 
crease their credit, influence, or popularity in the na- 
tion, I think it one of my most serious and impor- 
tant public duties, in whatsoever station I may be 
placed for the short time I have to live, eflFectually 
to employ my best endeavors, by every prudent and 
every lawful means, to traverse all their designs. I 
hape only to lament that my abilities are not greater, 



t 

t 



> 



M 



I 



■i: 



i 



i 



m 

'I 

'f i 

li 



M 



OBSEBVATIONS OV THE 



V. I 

I- 

ti 



ti 



and that my probability of life is not better, for the 
more effectual pursuit of that object. But I trust that 
neither the principles nor exertions will die with me. 
I am the rather confirmed in this my resolution, and 
in this my wish of transmitting it, because every ray 
of hope concerning a possible control or mitigation of 
the enormous mischiefs which the principles of these 
gentlemen, and which their connections, full as dan- 
gerous as their principles, might receive from the in- 
fluence of the Duke of Portland and Lord Fit/villiam, 
on becoming their colleagues in office, is now entirely 
banished from the mind of every one living. It is 
apparent, even to the world at large, that, so far 
from having a power to direct or to guide Mr, Fox, 
Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Grey, and the rest, in any impor- 
tant matter, they have not, through this session, 
been able to prevail on them to forbear, or to delay, 
or mitigate, or soften, any one act, or any one ex- 
pression, upon subjects on which they essentially 
differed. 

50. Even if this hope of a possible control- did exist, 
yet the declared opinions, and the uniform line of 
conduct conformable to those opinions, pursued by 
Mr. Fox, must become a matter of serious alarm, if 
he should obtain a power either at court or in Parlia- 
mont or in the nation at large, and for this plain 
rea-oii: he must be the most active and efficient 
member in any adminit^tration of which he shall 
form a part. Tli .t a man, or set of men, are guid- 
ed by such not dubious, Imt delivered and avowed 
principles and maxims of policy, as to need a watch 
and check on them in the exercise of the highest 
power, ought, in my opinion, to make every man, 
who is not of the same principles and guided by the 



I 



CONDUCT OF THE MNOBITY. 



67 



same maxims, a little cautious how he makes him- 
self one of the traverses of a ladder to help such a 
man, or such a set of men, to climb up to the high- 
est authority, k minister of this country is to be 
controlled by i o House of Commons. He is to be 
trusted, not controlled, by his colleagues in office : if 
he were to be controlled, government, which ought to 
be the source of order, would itself become a scene 
of anarchy. Besides, Mr. Fox is a man of an aspir- 
ing and commanding mind, made rather to control 
than to be controlled, and he never will be nor can 
be in any administration in which he will be guided 
by any of those whom I have been accustomed to 
confide in. It is absurd to think that he would or 
could. If his own opinions do not control him, noth- 
ing can. When we consider of an adherence to a 
man which leads to his power, we must not only see 
what the man is, but how he stands related. It is 
not to be forgotten that Mr. Fox acts in close and 
inseparable connection with another gentleman of ex- 
actly the same description as himself, and who, per- 
haps, of the two, is the leader. The rest of the body 
are not a great deal more tractable ; and over them, 
if Mr. Fox and Mr. Sheridan have authority, most 
assuredly the Duke of Portland has not the smallest 
degree of influence. 

61. One must take care that a blind partiality to 
some persons, and as blind an hatred to others, may 
not enter into our minds under a color of inflexible 
public principle. We hear, as a reason for clinging 
to Mr. Fox at present, that nine years ago Mr. Pitt 
got into power by mischievous intrigues with the 
court, with the Dissenters, and with other factious 
people out of Parliament, to the discredit and weak- 






! 11 









:i 1 



■isas^memmm 



68 



OBSEBTATTONS ON TBI 



■}'■ 



(ft 



Mi 



ening of the power of the House of Commons. His 
conduct nine years ago I still hold to be very culpa- 
bio. There are, however, many tilings very culpable 
that I do not know how to punish. My opinion on 
such matters I must submit to the good of the state 
as I have done on other occasions, — and particu- 
larly with regard to the authors and managers of 
the American war, with whom I have acted, boUi in 
office and m opposition, with great confidence and 
cordiahty, though I thought many of their acts crim- 
inal and impeachable. Whilst the misconduct of 
Mr. Pitt and his associates was yet recent, it was 
not possible to get Mr. Fox of himself to take a single 
step, or even to countenance others in tak'-tr any 
step, upon the ground of that misconduct a ..("ialse 
policy; though, if the matters had been theu taken 
up and pursued, such a step could not have appeared 
so evidently desperate as now it is. So far from pur- 
suing Mr. Pitt, I know that then, and for sonio time 
after, some of Mr. Fox's friends were actually, and 
with no small earnestness, looking out to a coali- 
tion with that gentleman. For years I never heard 
this circumstance of Mr. Pitt's misconduct on that 
occasion mentioned by Mr. Pox, either in public or 
m private, as a ground foi opposition to that minis- 
ter. All opposition, from tliat period to this very 
session, has proceeded upon the separate measures 
as they separately arose, without any vindictive ret- 
rospect to Mr. Pitt's conduct in 1784. My memory 
however, may fail me. I must appeal to the printed 
debates, which (so far as Mr. Fox is concerned) are 
imusually accurate. 

52. Whatever might have been in our power at 
an early period, at this day I see no remedy for what 



OONDtJCT OP TRE MINOEITT. 



=59 



was done in 1784. I had no great I, opes oven at the 
time. I was therefore very eager to record a remon- 
Btrance on the journals of tbo House of Cciiiinons, vi 
a caution again^^t such a popular delusion in times to 
come; and this I then feiuiil. and .ow uai certain, 
is all that could be done. I know i '' no wav of r.ni- 
madverting on the crown. I know ' f no mode of 
calling to ac ount the House of Lords, wlio threw 
out the India Bill in a way not much to their cred- 
it. As little, or rather less, am I able to coerce the 
people at large, who behaved very unwisely and 
iii temperately on that occasion. Mr. Pirt was then 
accused, by me as well as others, of attempting to 
be minister without enjoying tin confidence of the 
House of Commons, though he did enjoy the con- 
fidence of the crown. That House of Commons, 
whose confidence he did not enj( v, unfortunately 
did not itself enjoy the confidence (^though wo well 
deserved it) either of the crown or of the public. 
For want of that confidence, the then House of 
Commons did not survive the contest. Since that 
period Mr. Pitt has enjoyed the confidence of the 
crown, and of the Lords, and of the House of Com- 
mons, through two successive Parliaments; and I 
suspect that he has ever since, and that he does 
still, enjoy o ^arge a portion, at least, of the confi- 
dence of the people without doors as his great rival. 
Before whom, then, is Mr. Pitt to be impeached, and 
by whom? The more I consider the matter, the 
more firmly I am convinced that the idea of pro- 
scribing Mr. Pitt indire"',, when you cannot directly 
punish him, is as chimerical a project, and as unjusti- 
fiable, as it would be to have proscribed Lord North. 
For supposing that by indirect ways of opposition, 



Y 

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''if 






.l<PI 



i 



-f 



jgg^ 



m> 



60 



OBSEBVATTONS ON THB 



by opposition upon measures which do not relate to 
the business of 1784, but which on other grounds 
might prove unpopular, you were to drive him from 
his seat, this would be no example whatever of pun- 
ishment for the matters we charge as offences in 
1784. On a cool and dispassionate view of the 
affairs of this time and country, it appears obvious 
to me that one or the other of those two great men, 
that IS, Mr. Pitt or Mr. Fox, must be minister. Thoy 
are, I am sorry for it, irreconcilable. Mr. Fox's con- 
duct m this session has rendered the idea of his pow- 
er a matter of serious alarm to many people who 
were very little pleased with the proceedings of Mr 
Fitt m the beginning of his administration. They 
like neither the conduct of Mr. Pitt in 1784 nor 
that of Mr. Fox in 1793; but they estimate which 
ot the evils IS most pressing at the time, and what 
IS Jikely to be the consequence of a change. If Mr 
Fox be wedded, they must be sensible that his opin- 
ions and principles on the now existing state of 
thmp at home and abroad must be taken as his 
portion. In his train must also be taken the whole 
body of gentlemen who arc pledged to him and to 
each other, and to their common politics and prin- 
ciples. I believe no king of Great Britain ever will 
adopt, for his confidential servants, that body of gen- 
tlemen, holding that body of principles. Even if the 
present king or his successor should think fit to take 
that step I apprehend a general discontent of those 
who wish that this nation and that Europe should 
continue m their present state would ensue,-a dis- 
ccatent which combined with the principles and 
progress of the new men in power, would shake 
this kmgdom to Its foundations. I do not believe 



^1 

I 



CONDUCT OF THB HINOBnT. 



61 



any one political conjecture can be more certain 
than this. 

53. Without at all d-fending or palliating Mr. 
Pitt's conduct in 1784, I must observe, that the 
crisis of 1793, with regard to everything at home 
and abroad, is full as important as that of 1784 
ever was, and, if for no other reason, by being 
present, is much more important. It is not to nine 
years ago we are to look for the danger of Mr. Fox's 
and Mr. Sheridan's conduct, and that of tlie gentle- 
men who act with them. It is at this very time, and 
in this very session, that, if they had not been stren- 
uously resisted, they would not only have discredit- 
ed the House of Commons, (as Mr. Pitt did in 1784, 
whan he persuaded the king to reject their advice, and 
to appeal from them to the people,) but, in my opin- 
ion, would have been the means of wholly subvert- 
ing the House of Commons and the House of Peers, 
and tlie frhole Constitution actual and virtual, to- 
gether with the safety and independence of this na- 
tion, and the peace and settlement of every state in 
tue now Christian world. It is to our opinion of the 
nature of Jacobinism, and of the probability, by 
corruption, faction, and force, of its gaining ground 
everywhere, that the question whom and what you 
are to support is to be determined. For my part, 
without doubt or hesitation, I look upon Jacobinism 
as the most dreadful and the most shameful evil 
which ever afflicted mankind, a thing which goes 
beyond the power of all calculation in its mischief, — 
and that, if it is suffered to exist in France, we must 
in England, and speedily too, fall hito that calamity. 

64. I figure to myself the purpose of these gentle- 
men accomplished, and this ministry destroyed. I 



/ 



if 



'V. 






ill] 



I 11 

1 



msissamss 



62 



OBSEBVATIONS OS THB 



see that the persons who in that case must rule can 
be no other than Mr. Pox, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Grey 
the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Thurlow, Lord Lau' 
derdale, and the Duke of Norfolk, with the other 
chiefs of the Friends of the People, the Parliamentary 
reformers, and the admirers of the French Revolution. 
The principal of these are all formally pledged to their 
projects. If the Duke of Portland and Lord Pitzwil- 
liam should be admitted into that system, (as they 
might and probably would be,) it is quite certain 
they could not have the smallest weight in it, -less, 
indeed thau what they now possess, if less were pos- 
Bible: because they would be less wanted than they 
now are ,• and because all those who wished to join 
them and to act under them, have been rejected by 
the Duke of Portland and Lord FitzwiUiam them- 
ee Ives; and Mr. Fox, finding them thus by them- 
selves disarmed, has built quite a new fabric, upon 
quite a new foundation. There is no trifling on this 
subject. We see very distinctly before us the min! 
istry that would be formed and the plan that would 
be pursued If we like the plan, we must wish the 
power of those who are to carry it into execution; 
but to pursue the political exaltation of those whose 
political measures we disapprove and whose princi- 
ples we dissent from is a species of modern politics 
not easily comprehensible, and which must end in 
the ruin of the country, if it should continue and 
spread. Mr. Pitt may be the woi.t of men, a^d 
Mr. Fox may be the best ; but, at present, the farmer 
IS m the interest of his country, and of the order of 
things long established in Europe: Mr. Fox is not 
I have, for one, been born in this order of things" 
and would fain die in it. I am sure it is sufficS 



CONDUCT OP THE MINOBITT. 



68 



to make men as virtuous, as happj, and as knowing 
as anything which Mr. Fox, and his friends abroad 
or at home, would substitute in its place ; and I 
should be sorry that any set of politicians should ob- 
tain power in England whose principles or schemes 
thould lead them to countenance persons or fac- 
tions whose object is to introc'uce some new devised 
order of things into England, or to support that or- 
der where it is already introduced, in France, — a 
place in which if it can be fixed, in my mind, it must 
have a certain and decided influence in and upon this 
kingdom. 

This is my account of my conduct to my private 
friends. I have already said all I wish to say, or 
nearly so, to the public. I write this with pain and 
with an heart full of grief. 



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THE French Revolution has been the subject of 
various speculations and various histories. As 
might be expected, the royalists and the republicans 
have differed a good deal in their accounts of the 
principles of that Revolution, of the springs which 
have set it in motion, and of the true character of 
those who have been, or still are, the principal actors 
on that astonishing scene. 

They who are inclined to think favorably of that 
event will undoubtedly object to every state of facts 
which comes only n'om the authority of a royalist. 
Thus much must be allowed by those who are the 
most firmly attached io the cause of religion, law, 
and order, (for of such, and not of friends to despot- 
ism, the royal party is composed,) — that their very 
affection to this generous and manly cause, and their 
abhorrence of a Revolution not less fatal to liberty 
than to government, may possibly lead them in some 
particulars to a more harsh representation of the pro- 
ceedings of their adversaries than would be allowed 
by the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. This 
sort of error arises from a source highly laudable ; 
but the exactness of trutli may suffer even from the 
feeluigs of virtue. History will do justice to the in- 
tentions of worthy men, but it will be on its guard 
against their infirmities; it will examine with great 



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strictnew Of scrutiny whatever appears from a writer 
m favor of his own cause. On the other hand, whal^ 
ever escapes him, and makes against that cause, 
comes with the greatest weight. 

In this important controversy, the translator of the 
folowmg work brings forward to the English tribu- 
nal of opiuion the testimony of a witness beyond aU 
exception. His competence is undoubted. He knows 
everything which concerns this Revolution to the hot- 
tom. He 18 a chief actor in all the scenes which he 
presents No man can object to him as a royalist- 
the royal party, and the Christian religion, never had 
a more determined enemy. In a word, it is Bbissot. 
It IS Brissot, the republican, the Jacobin, and the 
philosopher, who is brought to give an account of 
Jacobmism, and of republicanism, and of phUoso- 
pny. 

It is worthy of observation, that this his account 
of the genius of Jacobinism and its effects is not con- 
fined to the period in which that faction came to be 
divided withm itself. In several, and those very im- 
portant particulars, Brissot's observations apply to 
the whole 01 the preceding period before the great 
schism, and whilst the Jacobins acted as one body • 
insomuch that the far greater part of the proceedings' 
ot the ruling powers since the commencement of the 
Bevolution .a France, so strikingly painted, so strong- 
ly and so .rustly reprobated by Brissot, were the acts 
of Brissot Imuself and his associates. All the mem- 
beis of the Girondiu subdivision were as deeply con- 
cerned as any of the Mountain could possibly be, and 
ome of them much more deeply, in those horrid 
transactions which have filled ail the tliinking part 
ot Europe with the greatest detestation, and with Uie 



:ii 



TO HIS CONSTITUENTB. 



69 



most serious apprehensions for the common liberty 
and safety. 

A question will very naturally be asked, — What 
could induce Brlssot to draw such a picture? He 
must hare been sensible it was his own. The an- 
swer is, — The Inducement was the same with that 
which led him to partake In the perpetration of all 
the crimes the calamitous effects of which he de- 
scribes with the pen of a master, — ambition. His 
faction, having obtained their stupendous and un- 
natural power by rooting out of the minds of his 
unhappy countrymen every principle of religion, mo- 
rality, loyalty, fidelity, and honor, discovered, that, 
when authority came into their hands, it would bo a 
matter of no small difficulty for them to carry on 
government on the principles by which they had 
destroyed it. 

The rights of men and the new principles of liber- 
ty and equality were very unhandy instruments for 
those who wished to establish a system of tranquillity 
and order. They who were taught to find nothing 
to respect in the title and in the virtues of Louis the 
Sixteenth, a prince succeeding to the tlirone by the 
fundamental laws, in the line of a succession of mon- 
archs continued for fourteen hundred years, fovmd 
nothing which could bind them to an implicit fidelity 
and dutiful allegiance to Messrs. Brissot, Vergniaud, 
Condorcet, Auacharsis Clootz, and Thomas Paine. 

In this difficulty, they did as well as they could. 
To govern the people, they must incline the people 
to obey. The work was difficult, but it was neces- 
sary. They were to accomplish it by such materials 
and by such instruments as they had in their hands. 
They were to accomplish the purposes of order, mo- 



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PREFACE TO BBISSOX's ADDRESS 



ralitj, and submission to the laws, from tlie principles 
of atheism, profligacy, and sedition. Ill as the dis- 
guise became them, they began to assume the mask 
of an austere and rigid virtue; they exhausted all the 
stores of their eloquence (which in some of them were 
not inconsiderable) in declamations against tumult 
and confusion ; they made daily harangues on the 
blessings of order, discipline, quiet, and obedience 
to authority; they even showed some sort of dispo- 
sition to protect such property as had not been con- 
fiscated. They who on every occasion had discovered 
a sort of furious thirst of blood and a greedy appetite 
for slaughter, who avowed and gloried in the murders 
and massacres of the 14th of July, of tlio 5tli and 6th 
of October, and of the 10th of August, now began to 
be squeamish and fastidious with regard to those of 
the 2nd of September. 

1)1 their pretended scruples on the sequel of the 
slaughter of the 10th of August, they imposed upon 
no living creature, and they obtained not the small- 
est credit for humanity. They endeavored to estab- 
lish a distinction, by the belief of which they hoped to 
keep the spirit of murder safely bottled up and sealed 
for their own purposes, witliout endangering them- 
selves by the fumes of the poison which tl^ey pre- 
pared for their enemies. 

Roland was the chief and the most accredited aI 
the faction. His morals had furnished little mnit-i 
of exception against him. Old, domestic, and uxo- 
rious, he led a private life sufficiently blameless. Ho 
was tlierefore set up as the Cato of the republican par- 
ty, wliich did not abound in such cliaracters. 

This man, like most of the chiefs, was the man- 
ager of a newspaper, in which ho promoted the in- 



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terest of his party. He was a fatal present made by 
the revolutionists to the unhappy king, as one of his 
ministers under the new Constitution. Amongst his 
colleagues were ClaviSre and Servan. All the three 
hare since that time either lost their heads by the 
axe of their associates in rebellion, or, to evade their 
own revolutionary justice, have fallen by their own 

hands. 

These ministers were regarded by the king as in 
a conspiracy to dethrone him. Nobody who consid- 
ers the circumstances which preceded the deposition 
of Louis the Sixteenth, nobody who attends to the 
subsequent conduct of those ministers, can hesitate 
about the reality of such a conspiracy. The king 
certainly had no doubt of it; he found himself 
obliged to remove them ; and the necessity, which 
first obliged him to choose such regicide ministers 
constrained him to replace them by Dumouriez the 
Jacobin, and some others of little efficiency, though 
of a better description. 

A little beforp this removal, and evidently as a 
part of the conspiracy, Roland put into the king's 
hands, as a memorial, the most insolent, seditious, 
and atrocious libel that has probably ever been 
penned. This paper Roland a few days after de- 
livered to the National Assembly,* who instantly 
published and dispersed i* over all France; and in 
c.der to give it the stronger operation, tlicy declared 
that he and his brother ministers had carried with 
them the regret of the nation. None of the writings 
which have inflamed tiie Jacobin spirit to a savage 
fury ever worked up i. fiercer ferment through the 

• Presented to the king June 13 ; delivered to him the preceding 
Slonday. — Translatob. 



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whole mass of the republicans in every part of 
France. 

Under the thin veil of prediction, he strongly recom. 
mends all the abominable practices which afterwards 
followed. In particular, he inflamed the minds ot 
the populace against the respectable and conscien- 
tious clergy, who became the chief objects of the 
massacre, and who were to him the chief objects of 
a malignity and rancor that one could hardly think 
to exist in an human heart. 

We have the relics of his fanatical persecution 
here. We are in a condition to judge of the mer- 
its of the persecutors and of the persecuted : I do 
not say the accusers and accused ; because, in all 
the furious declamations of the atheistic faction 
against these men, not one specific charge has been 
made upon any one person of those who suffered in 
their massacre or by their decree of exile. 

Tlie king had declared that he would sooner per- 
ish under their axe (he too well saw what was pre- 
paring for him) than give his sanction to the iniqui- 
tous act of proscription under which those innocent 
people were to be transported. 

On this proscription of the clergy a principal part 
of the ostensible quarrel between the king and those 
ministers had turned. From the time of the author- 
ized publication of this libel, some of the manoeuvres 
long and uniformly pursued for the king's deposition 
became more and more evident and declared. 

The 10th of August came on, and in the manner 
in which Roland had predicted : it was followed by 
the same consequences. The king was deposed, af- 
ter cruel massacres in the courts and the apartments 
of his palace and in almost all parts of the city. In 



TO HIS CONSTITTJENTS. 



78 



reward of his treason to his old master, Roland was 
by his new masters named Minister of the Home De- 
partment. 

The massacres of the 2nd of September were begot- 
ten by the massacres of the 10th of August. They 
were universally foreseen and hourly expected. Dur- 
ing this short interval between the two murderous 
scenes, the furies, male and female, cried out havoc 
as loudly and as fiercely as ever. The ordinary jails 
were all filled with prepared victims ; and when they 
overflowed, churches were turned into jails. At this 
time the relentbss Roland had the care of the gen- 
eral police; — he had for his colleague the bloody 
Danton, who was Minister of Justice ; the insidious 
Potion was Mayor of Paris ; the treacherous Man- 
uel was Procurator of the Common Hall. The mag- 
istrates (some or all of them) were evidently the 
authors of this massacre. Lest the national guard 
should, by their very name, be reminded of their 
duty in preserving the lives of their fellow-citizens, 
the Common Council of Paris, pretending that it 
was in vain to think of resisting the murderers, 
(although in truth neither their numbers nor their 
arms were at all formidable,) obliged those guards 
to draw the charges from their muskets, and took 
away their bayonets. One of their journalists, and, 
according to their fashion, one of their leading states- 
men, Gorsas, mentions this fact in his newspaper, 
which he formerly called the Galley Journal. The 
tide was well suited to the paper and its author. 
For some felonies he had been sentenced to the gal- 
leys ; but, by the benignity of the late king, this 
felon (to be one day advanced to the rank of a regi- 
cide) had been pardoned and released at the inter 



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cession cf the ambassadors of Tippoo Sultan, His 
gratitude was such as might naturally have been 
expected ; and it has lately been rewarded as it de- 
served. This liberated galley-slave was raised, in 
mockery of all criminal law, to be Minister of Jus- 
tice : he became from his elevation a more conspic- 
uous object of accusation, and he has since received 
the punishment of his former crimes in proscription 
and death. 

It will be asked, how the Minister of the Home 
Department was employed at this crisis. The day 
after the massacre had commenced, Roland ap- 
peared ; but not with the powerful apparatus of a 
protecting magistrate, to rescue those who had sur- 
vived the slaughter of the first day : nothing of this. 
On the 3rd of September, (that is, the day after the 
commencement of the massacre,*) he writes a long, 
elaborate, verbose epistle to the Assembly, in which,' 
after magnifying, according to the bon-ton of the Rev' 
olution, his own integrity, humanity, courage, and 
patriotism, lie first directly justifies all the bloody 
proceedings of tlie 10th of August. He considers 
the slaughter of that day as a necessary measure for 
defeating a conspiracy which (with a full knowledge 
of the falsehood of his assertion) he asserts to have 
been formed for a massacre of the people of Paris, 
and which he more than insinuates was the work 
of his late unhappy master, — who was universally 
known to carry his dread of shedding the blood of 
his most guilty subjects to an excess. 

" Without the day of the 10th," says he, " it 's evi- 
dent that we should have been lost. The court, pre- 

• Letter to the National Assembly, signed, m Minister of the 
interior, Roland; dated Paris, Sept. 3rd, 4th year of Liberti,. 



TO mS CONSTITUENTS. 



75 



pared for a long time, waited for tho liotir which was 
to accumulate all treasons, to display over Paris the 
standard of death, and to reign there by terror. The 
sense of the people, (le sentiment,') always just and 
ready when their opinion is not corrupted, foresaw 
tho epoch marked for their destruction, and rendered 
it fatal to the conspirators." Ila then proceeds, in 
the cant which has been applied to palliate all their 
atrocities from the 14th of July, 1789, to the present 
time: — "It is in the nature of things," continues 
he, " and in that of the human heart, that victory 
should bring with it some excess. The sea, agitated 
by a violent storm, roars long after the tempest ; but 
everything has bounds, which ought at length to be ob- 
served." 

In this memorable epistle, he considers such ex- 
cesses as fatalities arising from the very nature of 
things, and consequently not to be punished. He 
allows a space of time for the duration of these agi- 
tations ; and lest ho should be thought rigid and too 
scanty in his measure, he thinks it may be long. 
But he would have things to cease at length. But 
when? and nhere? — When they may approach his 
own person. 

^^ Yesterday," says he, "the ministers were de- 
nounced: vaguely, indeed, as to the matter, because 
subjects of reproach were wanting; but with that 
warmth and force of assertion which strike the im- 
agination and seduce it for a moment, and which 
mislead and destroy confidence, without which no 
man should remain in place in a free government. 
Yesterday, again, in an assembly of the presidents 
of all the sections, convoked by the ministers, with 
the view of conciliating all minds, and of mutual 






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PREFACE TO BBISSOT'S ADDBES8 



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explanation, : perceived that distrust which suspects, 
interrogates, and fetters operations." 

In this manner (tliat is, in mutual suspicions and 
interrogatories) tlws virtuous Minister of the Home 
Department, and all the magistracy of Paris, spent 
the first day of the massacre, the atrocity of which 
has spread horror and alarm tliroughout Europe. It 
does not appear that the putting a stop to the massa. 
ere had any part in the object of their meeting, or in 
their consultations when they were met. Here was 
a minister tremblingly alive to his own safety, dead 
to that of his fellow-citizens, eager tc preserve his 
place, and worse than indifferent about its most im- 
portant duties. Speaking of the people, he says 
"that their hidden enemies may make use of this 
agitation " (the tender appellation which he gives to 
horrid massacre) « to hurt their lest friends and their 
most able defenders. Already the example begins: let 
it restrain and arrest a just rage. Indignation car- 
ried to its height commences proscriptions which fall 
only on the guilty, but in which error and particular 
passions may shortly involve the honest man." 

He saw that the able artificers in the trade and 
mystery of murder did not choose that their skill 
should be unemployed after their first work, and 
that they were full as ready to cut oL their rivals as 
their enemies. This gave him one alarm that was 
serious. This letter of Roland, in every part of it, 
lets out the secret of all the parties in this Revolution.' 
Plena rimarum est; hac atque iliac perjluit. We see 
that none of them condemn the occasional practice of 
murder,— provided it is properly applied,— provided 
It is kept within the bounds which each of those par- 
ties think proper to prescribe. In this case Roland 



SnalFTi' 



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TO H13 CONSTITUENTS. 



77 



feared, that, if what was occasionally useful should 
become habitual, the practice might go further than 
was convenient. It might involve the best friends 
of the last Revolution, as it had done the heroes of 
the first Revolution : he feared that it would not be 
confined to the La Fayettes and Clermont -Tonnerres, 
the Duponts and Barnaves, but that it might extend 
to the Brissots and Vergniauds, to the Condorcets, 
the Potions, and to himself. Under this apprehen- 
sion there is no doubt that his humane feelings were 
altogether unaffected. 

His observations on the massacre of the preceding 
day are such as cannot be passed over. "Yester- 
day," said he, " was a day upou the events of which 
it is perhaps necessary to leave a veil. I know that 
the people with their vengeance mingled a sort of Jus- 
tice: they did not take for victims all who presented 
themselves to their fury ; they directed it to them who 
had for a long time been spared hy the sword of the 
law, and who they believed, from die p€ ril of circum- 
stances, should be sacrificed without delay. But I 
know that it \r easy to villains and trailers tc misrep- 
resent this effervescence, and that it must be checked ; 
I know that we owe to all France the declaration, that 
the executive power could not foresee or prevent this 
excess ; I know that it is due to the constituted au- 
thorities to place a limit to it, or consider themselves 
as abolished." 

In the midst of this carnage he thinks of nothing 
but throwing a veil over It, — which was at once to 
cover the guilty from punishment, and to extinguish 
all compassion for the sufferers. He apologizes for 
it ; in fact, he justifies it. Ft who (as the reader 
has just seen in what is quoted from this letter) fee^s 



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PBEPAciT TO BBISSOT'S ADDBE88 



SO much indignation at " vague denunciations," when 
made against himself, and from which he then feared 
notliiug more than the subversion of his power, is 
not ashamed to consider the charge of a conspiracy 
to massacre the Parisians, brought against his master 
upon denunciations as vague as possible, or rather 
upon no denunciations, as a perfect iustification of 
the monstrous proceedings against him. He is not 
ashamed to call the murder of the unhappy priests 
m the Carmes, who were under no criminal den-m. 
ciation whatsoever, a « vengeance mingled with a aort 
of Justice"; he observes that they "had been a long 
time spared by the sword of the law," and calls by an- 
ticipation all those who should represent this " efer- 
vescence" in other colors villains and traitors: he did 
not then foresee how soon himself and his accom- 
plices would be under the necessity of assuming the 
pretended character of this aew sort of « villany and 
treason," in the hope of obliterating the memory of 
their former real villanies and treasons; he did not 
foresee that in the course of six months a formal 
manifesto on the part of himself and his faction, writ- 
ten by his confederate Brissot, was to represent this 
''effervescence" as another "St. Bartholomew," and 
speak of it as ''havi.ig made humanity shudder, and 
sullied the Revolution forever" * 

It is very rejiarkable that he takes upon himself 
to know the motives of the assassins, their policy, and 
even what they "believed." How could this be, if 
he had no connection with them? He praises the 
murderers for not having taken as yet all the lives 
of those who had, as lie calls it, ''presented themselves 
aa victims to their fury." He paints tlie miserable 

• See p. 12 and p. 13 of this translation. 



TO HIS CONSTITUENTS. 



79 



prisoners, who had been forcibly pUed upon one 
another in the Church of the Carmelites by his fac- 
tion, as presenting themselves as victims to their fu- 
ry, — as if death was their choice, or (allowing the 
idiom of his language to make this equivocal) as if 
they were by some accident presented to the fury of 
their assassins: whereas he knew that the leaders 
of the murderers sought these pure and innocent 
victims in tlie places where they lipi deposited them 
and were sure to find them. The very welection, 
which he praises as a sort of jv' *"' wrmg their 
fury, proves beyond a doubt ght, delib- 

eration, and method with whi acsacre was 

made. He knew that circumsi the v ;vy day 

of the commencement of the massacres, wh ., in all 
probability, he had begun this letter, — for he pre- 
sented it to the Assembly on the very next. 

Whilst, however, he defends these acts, he is con- 
scious that they will appear in another light to the 
world. He therefore acquits the executive power, 
that is, he acquits himself, (but only by his own 
assertion,) of those acts of " vengeance mixed with a 
sort of justice" as an " excess which he could neither 
foresee nor prevent." He could not, he says, foresee 
these acts, when he tells us the people of Paris had 
sagacity so well to foresee the designs of the court 
on the 10th of August, — to foresee them so well 
as to mark the precise epoch on which they were to 
be executed, and to contrive to anticipate them on 
the very day: he could not foresee these events, 
though he declares in this very letter that victory 
must bring with it some excess, — that " the sea roars 
long after the tempest." So far as to his foresight. 
A.S to his disposition to prevent, if he had f- •3seen, 



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PBEPACE TO BBISSOT's ADDRESS 









the massacres of that day, -this will be judged by 
his care ui putting a stop to the massacre then go...g 
on. Th . was no matter of foresight : he was in the 
very midst of it. Ho does not so much as pretend 
that he had used any force to put a stop to it. But 
If he had used any, the sanction given under his hand 
to a sort of justice in the murderers was enough to 
disarm the protecting force. 

That approbation of what they had already done 
had Its natural effect on the executive assassins, then 
m the paroxysm of their fury, as well as on their em- 
ployers, then in the midst of the execution of their 
deliberate, cold-blooded system of murder. He did 
not at all differ from either of them in the principle 
of those executions, but only in the time of their du- 
ration,— and that only as it affected himself. This 
though to him a great consideration, was none to his 
confederates, who were at the same time his rivals. 
Ihey were encouraged to accomplish the work they 
had m hand. They did accomplish it; and whilst 
this grave moral epistle from a grave minister, recom- 
mending a cessation of their work of "vengeance 
mingled with a sort of justice," was befora'^^": 
assemMy, the authors of the massacres proceeded 
without interruption in their business for four days 

tf A~^?'''^ '"' ""*^ *^' ^^^«^*b of that nionth, 
anduntil aU the victims of the first proscription in 
Pans and at VersaiUes and several other places were 
immolated at the shrine of the grim Moloch of libe y 
and equahty. All the priests, all the loyalists, all the 

rnlT^f '*'f *^ '"''''''' °^ revolution in 1789, that 
could be found, were promiscuously put to death. 

Through the whole of this long letter of Roland, it 
18 curious to remark how the nerve and vigor of his 



TO HIS CONSTITUENTS. 



81 



style, which had spoken so potently to his sovereign, 
is relaxed wlien ho addresses himself to the tans-cu- 
lottea, — how that strength and dexterity of arm, with 
which he parries and beats down the sceptre, is en- 
feebled and lost when he comes to fence with the 
poniard. When he speaks to the populace, he can no 
longer be direct. The whole compass of the language 
is tried to find synonymes and circumlocutions for 
massacre and murder. Things are never called by 
their common names. Massacre is sometimes agitor 
tion, sometime" effervescence, sometir . excess, some- 
times too conu. aed an exercise of a re^'olutionary 
poteer. 

However, after what had passed had been praised, 
or exctiscd, or pardoned, ho declares loudly against 
such proceedings in future. Crimes had pioneered 
and made smooth the way for the march of the vir- 
tues, and from that time order and justice and a 
sacred regard for personal property were to become 
the rules for the new democracy. Here Roland and 
the Brissotins leagued for their own preservation, b- 
endeavoring to preserve peace. This short story will 
render many of the parts of Brissot's pamphlet, in 
which Roland's views and intentions are so often al- 
luded to, the more intelligible in themselves, and 
the more useful in their application by the English 
reader. 

Under the cover of these artifices, Roland, Brissot, 
and their party hoped to gain the bankers, merchants, 
substantial tradesmen, hoarders of assignats, and pur- 
chasers of the confiscated lands of the clergy and gen- 
try to join with their party, as holding out some sort 
of security to the effects which they possessed, whether 
these effects were the acquisitions of fair commerce, 

VOL. V. 6 



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PREFiCE TO BRISSOT'B ADDRESS 






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or the gains of jobbing in tho misfortunes of Ihoir 
country and tho plunder of thoii 'VHow-citizcns. In 
tliis design the party of Roland and ijrissot succeeded 
in a great degree. They obtained a majority in the 
National Convention. Composed, however, as that 
assembly is, their majority was far from steady. But 
whilst they appeared to gain the Convention, and 
many of tho outlying departments, they lost the city 
of Paris entirely and irrecoverably : it was fallen into 
the hands of Marat, Robespierre, and Daiiton. Their 
instruments were the aarm-culofteg, or rabble, who 
domineered in that capital, and were w}i,-jlly at the 
devotion of those incendiaries, and received their daily 
pay. The people of property were of no consequence, 
and trembled before Marat and his janizaries. As 
that great man had not obtained the helm of the state, 
it was not yet come to his turn to act the part of Bris- 
sot and his friends in the assertion of subordination 
and regular government. But Robespierre has sur- 
vived both these rival chiefs, and is now the great 
patron of Jacobin order. 

To balance the exorbitant power of Paris, (which 
threatened to leave nothing to the National Conven- 
tion but a character as insignificant as that which 
the first Assembly had assigned to the unhappy Louis 
the Sixteenth,) the faction of Brissot, whose leaders 
were Roland, Potion, Vergniaud, Isnard, Condorcet, 
&c., &c., &c., applied themselves to gain the great 
commercial towns, Lyons, Marseilles, Rouen, Nantes, 
and Bordeaux. The republicans of the Brissotm 
description, to whom the concealed royalists, still very 
numerous, joined themselves, obtained a temporary 
superiority in all these places. In Bordeaux, on 
account of the activity and eloquence of some of its 



li 



"=^3rM.»:f~:iai*irr*aji»-.. 



TO HIS CONSTITUENTS. 



88 



representatives, this superiority was the most distin- 
giiished. This last city is seated on the Garonne, 
or Gironde; and being the centre of a department 
named from that river, the appellation of Girondists 
was given to the whole party. These, and some other 
towns, declared strongly against the principles of an- 
archy, and against the despotism of Paris. Numer- 
ous addresses were sent to the Convention, promising 
to maintain its authority, which the addressers were 
pleased to consider as legal and constitutional, though 
chosen, not to compose an executive government, but 
to form a plan for a Constitution. In the Conven- 
tion measures were taken to obtain an armed force 
from the several departments to maintain the freedom 
of that body, and to provide for the personal safety 
of the members : neither of which, from the 14tli of 
July, 1789, to this hour, have been really enjoyed by 
their assemblies sitting under any denomination. 

Thibi scheme, which was well conceived, had not 
the desired success. Paris, fVom which the Conven- 
tion did not dare to move, though some threats of 
such a departure were from time to time thrown 
out, was too powerful for the party of the Gironde. 
Some of the proposed guards, but neither with reg- 
ularity nor in force, did indeed arrive . tliey were 
debauched as fast as they came, or were sent to th 
frontiers. The game played by the revolutioniocs 
in 1789, with respect to the French guards of the 
unhappy king, was now played against the depart- 
mental guards, called together for the protection of 
the revolutionisio. Every part of their own policy 
comes round, and strikes at their own power and 
tlieir own lives. 

The Parisians, on their part, were not slow in tak- 



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PREFACE TO BBI3S0T's ADDBESS 



h 



ing the alarm. They had just reason to apprehend, 
tliat, if they permitted the smallest delay, the/ should 
see themselves besieged by an army collected from 
all parts of France. Violent threats were thrown 
out against that city in the Assembly. Its total 
destruction was menaced. A very remarkable ex- 
pression was used in these debates, — " that in future 
times it might be inquired on what part of the Seine 
Paris had stood." The faction which ruled in Paris, 
too bold to be intimidated and too vigilant to be sur- 
prised, instantly armed themselves. In their turn, 
they accused the Girondists of a treasonable design 
to break ihe republic one and indivisible (whose unity 
they contended could only be preserved by the su- 
premacy of Paris) into a number of cmfederate com- 
monwealths. The Girondin faction on this account 
received also the name of Federalists. 

Things on both sides hastened fast to extremities. 
Paris, the mother of equality, was herself to be equal- 
ized. Matters were come to this alternative : eitlier 
that city must be reduced to a mere member of the 
federative republic, or the Convention, chosen, as 
they said, by all Prance, was to be brought regularly 
and systematically under the dominion of the Com- 
mon Hall, and even of any one of the sections of 
Paris. 

In this awful contest, thus brought to issue, the 
great mother club of the Jacobins was entirely in the 
Parisian interest. The Girondins no longer dared 
to show their faces in that assembly. Nine tenths 
at least of the Jacobin clubs, throughout France, ad- 
hered to the great patriarchal Jacobini^'re of Paris, 
to which they were (to use their own term) affiliat- 
ed. No authority of magistracy, judicial or executive, 




TO HIS CONSTITUENTS. 



86 



had the least weight, whenever these clubs chose to 
interfere : and they chose to interfere in everything, 
and on every occasion. All hope of gaining them to 
the support of property, or to the acknowledgment 
of any law but their own will, was evidently vain 
and hopeless. Nothing but an armed insurrection 
against their anarchical authority could answer the 
purpose of the Girondins. Anarchy was to be cured 
by rebellion, as it had been caused by it. 

As a preliminary to this attempt on the Jacobins 
and the commons of Paris, which it was hoped would 
be supported by all the remaining property of France, 
it became absolutely necessary to prepare a manifes- 
to, laying before the public the whole policy, genius, 
character, and conduct of the partisans of club gov- 
ernment. To make this exposition as fully and clearly 
as it ought to be made, it was of the same unavoid- 
able necessity to go through a series of transactions, 
in which all those concerned in this Revolution were, 
at the several periods of their activity, deeply in- 
volved. In consequence of this design, and under 
these difficulties, Brissot prepared the following dec- 
laration of his party, which he executed with no 
small ability ; and in this manner the whole mystery 
of the French Revolution was laid open in all its 
parts. 

It is almost needless to mention to the reader the 
fate of the design to which this pamphlet was to 
be subservient. The Jacobins of Paris were more 
prompt than their adversaries. They were the read- 
iest to resort to what La Fayette calls the most sacred 
of all duties, that of insurrection. Another era of holy 
insurrection commenced the 31st of last May. As 
the first fruits of that insurrection grafted on in 



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PBEPACE TO BBISSOT'S ADPBESS 



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Burrection, and of that rebellion improving upon 
rebellion, the sacred, irresponsible character of the 
members of the Convention was laughed to scorn. 
They had themselves shown in their proceedings 
against the late king how little the most fixed prin- 
ciples are to be relied upon, in their revolutionary 
Constitution. The members of the Girondin party 
in the Convention were seized upon, or obliged to 
save themselves by flight. The unhappy author of 
this piece, with twenty of his associates, suflFered 
togetlier on the scaffold, after a trial the iniquity of 
which puts all description to defiance. 

The English reader will draw from this work of 
Brissot, and from the result of the last struggles of 
this party, some useful lessons. He will be enabled 
to judge of the information of those who have under- 
taken to guide ana enlighten us, and who, for rea- 
sons best known to themselves, have chosen to paint 
the French Revolution and its consequences in bril- 
liant and flattering colors. They will know how 
to appreciate the liberty of France, which has been 
so much magnified in England. Tliey will do justice 
to t?.e wisdom and goodness of their sovereign and 
his Parliament, who have put them into a state of 
defence, in tlie war audaciously made upon us in 
favor of that kind of liberty. When we see (as here 
we must see) in their true colors the character and 
policy of our enemies, our gratitude will become an 
active principle. It will produce a strong and zeal- 
ous cooperation with the efforts of our government 
in favor of a Constitution under which we enjoy 
advantages the full value of which the querulous 
weakness of liuman nature requires sometimes the 
opportunity of a comparison to understand and to 
relish. 



1 



TO HIS CONSTITUENTS. 



87 



Our confidence in those who watch for the public 
will not be lessened. We shall be sensible that to 
alarm us in the late circumstances of our affairs was 
not for our molestation, but for our security. We 
shall be sensible that this alarm was not ill-timed,— 
and that it ought to have been given, as it was given, 
b3fore the enemy had time fully to mature and ac- 
complish their plans for reducing us to the condition 
of France, as that condition is faithfully and without 
exaggeration described in the following work. We 
now have our arms in our hands ; we have the means 
of opposing the sense, the courage, and the resources 
of England to the deepest, the most craftily devised, 
the best combined, and the most extensive design 
that ever was carried on, since the beginning of the 
world, against all property, all order, all religion, all 
law, and all real freedom. 

The reader is requested to attend to the part of 
thi^ pamphlet which relates to the conduct of the 
Jacobins with regard to the Austrian Netherlands, 
which they call Belgia or Belgium. It is from page 
seventy-two to page eighty-four of this translation. 
Here their views and designs upon all their neighbors 
are fully displayed. Here the whole mystery of their 
ferocious politics is laid open with the utmost clear- 
ness. Here the manner in which they would treat 
every nation into which they could introduce their 
doctrines and influence is distinctly marked. We 
see that no nation was out of danger, and we see 
what the danger was with which every nation was 
threatened. The writer of this pamphlet throws tho 
blame of several of the most violent of the proceed- 
ings on the other party. He and his friends, at the 
time alluded to, had a majority in the National As- 



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PBEPACE TO BBISSOT'S ADDBES8 



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Bembly. He admits that neither he nor thev em 
pvhltcly opposed these measures; but iie attributes 
their silence to a fear of rendering themselves sus- 
pected. It IS most certain, that, whether from fear 
or from approbation, they never discovered any dis- 
like of those proceedings till Dumouriez was driven 
from the Netherlands. But whatever their motive 
was, It IS plain that the most violent is, and since 
the Revolution has always been, the predominant 
party. 

If Europe could not be saved without our interpo- 
sition, (most certainly it could not,) I am sure tJiere 
IS not an Eughshman who would not blush to be left 
out of the general effort made in favor of the general 
safety. But we are not secondary parties in this 
war; «.« are principah in the darker, and ought to he 
prmcwals m the exertion. If any Englishman asks 
whether the designs of the French assassins are con- 
lined to the spot of Europe which they actually deso- 
late, the citizen Brissot, the author of this book, and 
the author of the declaration of war against England, 
wiU give him his answer. He will find in this book 
that ii- republicans are divided into Tactions full of 
the most furious and destructive animosity against 
each other; but he will find also that there is one 
point in which they perfectly agree: that tliey are 
aU enemies alike to the government of all other na- 
tions, and only contend with each other about the 
means of propagating their tenets and extending 
their empire by conquest. 

It is true that in this present work, which the 

author professedly designed for an appeal to foreign 

nations and posterity, he has dressed up the philoso- 

, phy ot his own faction in as decent a garb as he 



IdH 



TO HI3 C0N8TITUENT8. 



89 



could to make her appearance in public ; but through 
every disguise her hideous figure may be distinctly 
seen. If, however, the reader still wishes to see her 
in all her naked deformity, I would further refer him 
to a private letter of lirissot, -wTitten towards the end 
of the last year, and quoted in a late very aWe pam- 
phlet of Mallet Du Pan. " We must " (says our phi- 
losopher) ^^ set fire to the four comer? of Europe'' , in 
that alone is our safbty. " Dumouriez cannot suit us. 
I always distrusted him. Miranda is the general for 
us : he understands the revolutionary pouK ;• ; he has 
courage, lights," &c.* Here everything is fairly 
avowed in plain language. The trivmph of philos- 
ophy is the imiversal conflagration of Europe; the 
only real dissatisfaction with Dumouriez is a sus- 
picion of his moderation; and the secret motive of 
that preference which ui this very pamphlet the au- 
thor gives to Miranda, though without assigning his 
reasons, is declared to be the superior fitness of that 
foreign adventurer for the purposes of subversion and 
destruction. On the other hand, if there can be any 
man in this country so hardy as to undertake the de- 
fence or the apology of the present monstrous usurp- 
ers of France, and if it should be said in then- favor, 
that it is not just to credit the charges of their ene- 
my Brissot against them, who have actually tried and 
condemned him on the very same charges among 
others, we are luckily supplied with the best pos- 
sible evidence in support of this part of his book 
against them: it comes from among themselves. 
Camille Desmoulius published the History of the 
Brissotins in answer to this very address of Bris- 

• See the translation of Mallet Da Pan'i work, printed for Owen, 
p. 53. 



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PREFACE TO BBISSOT's ADDEE88 



sot. It was the counter-manifesto of the last holy 
revolution of the 31st of May; and tlie flagitioii 
orthodoxy of his writings at that period has been 
admitted in the late scrutiny of him by the Jaco- 
bm Club, when they saved him from that guillotine 
which he grazed." In the beginning of his work 
he displays " the task of glory," as he calls it, which 
presented itself at the opening of the Convention. 
AH IS summed up in two points: «To create the 
irench Republic; to disorganize Uurope; perhaps to 
purge it of its tyrants hy the eruption of the volcanic 
principles of equality."* The coincidence is exact- 
the proof is complete and irresistible. ' 

In a cause like this, and in a time like the present 
there is no neutrality. They who are not actively' 
and with decision and energy, against Jacobinism 
are its partisans. They who do not dread i , love it 
It cannot be viewed with indifference. It is a thing 
made to produce a powerful impression on the feel- 
ings. Such is the nature of Jacobinism, such is the 
nature of man, that this system must be regarded 
either with enthusiastic admiration, or with the high- 
est degree of detestation, resentment, and horror. 

Another great lesson may be taught by this book 
and by the fortune of the author and his party I 
mean a lesson drawn from the consequences of en- 
gaging in daring innovations from an hope that we 
may be able to limit their mischievous operation at 
our pleasure, and by our policy to secure our«pi-es 
against the effect of the evil examples we hold out to 
the world. This lesson is taught tlirough almost all 
the important pages of history ; but never has it been 

• See the translation of the History of the Brissotins by Camille 
Uesmonlins, printed for Owen, p. 2. 



TO HIS CONSTITUENTS. 



91 



tauglit so clearly and so awfully as at this hour. Tlio 
revolutionists who have just suffered an ignominious 
death, under the sentence of the revolutionary tribu- 
nal, (a tiibunal composed of those with whom they 
had triumphed in the total destruction of the ancient 
government,) were by no means ordinary men, or 
without very considerable talents and resources. Euc 
with all their talents and resources, and the apparent 
momentary extent of their power, we see the fate of 
their projects, their power, and their persons. We 
see before our eyes the absurdity of thinking to estab- 
lish order upon principles of confusion, or with the 
materials and instruments of lebellion to build up a 
solid and stable government. 

Such partisans of a republic amongst us as may 
not have the worst intentions will see that the prin- 
ciples, the plans, the manners, the morals, and tho 
whole system of France is altogether as adverse to the 
formation and duration of any rational scheme of a 
republic as it is to that of a monarchy, absolute or 
limited. It is, indeed, a system which can only an- 
swer the purposes of robbers and murderers. 

The translator has only to say for himself, that he 
has found some difficulty in this version. His origi- 
nal author, through haste, perhaps, or through the 
perturbation of a mind filled with a great and ardu- 
ous enterprise, is often obscure. There are some pas- 
sages, too, in which his language requires to be first 
translated into French, — at least into such French as 
the Academy would in former times have tolerated. 
He writes with great force and vivacity ; but the lan- 
guage, like everything else in his country, has under- 
gone a revolution. Tlie translator thought it best to 
be as literal as possible, conceiving such a transla- 



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PBEPACE TO BBISSOT'S ADDBE8S. 



tion would perhaps be the most fit to convey the au- 
thor's peculiar mode of thinking. In this wa/ the 
translator has no credit for style, but he makes it up 
in fidelity. Indeed, the facts and observations are so 
much more important than the style, that no apology 
18 wanted for producing them in any inteUigible man- 
ner. 



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APPENDIX. 



[The Address of M. Brissot to his Constituents being now almost 
forgotten, it has been thonght right to add, as an Appendix, that part 
of it to which Mr. Burke points our particular attention, and upon 
which he su forcibly comments in his Preface.] 

THREE sorts of anarchy have ruined our affairs 
in Belgium. 

The anarchy of the administration of Pache, which 
has completely disorganized the supply of our armies ; 
which by that disorganization reduced the army of 
Dumouriez to stop in the middle of its conquests ; 
which struck it motionless through the months of 
November and December; which hindered it from 
joining Beurnonville and Custine, and from forcing 
the Prussians and Austrians to repass the Rhine, and 
afterwards from putting themselves in a condition to 
invade Holland soonev than they did. 

To this state of ministerial anarchy it is necessary 
to join that ot ^r anarchy which disorganized the 
troops, and occasioned their habits of pillage ; and 
lastly, that anarchy which created the revolutionary 
power, and forced the union to France of the coun- 
tries we had invaded, before things were ripe for such 
a measure. 

Who could, however, doubt the frightful evils that 
were occasioned in our armies by that doctrine of an- 
archy which, under the shadow of equality of right, 
would establish equality of fact' This is universal 



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PREFACE TO BWSSOT'b ADDRESS. 



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equality, the scourgo of society, as the other is the 
support of society: an anarchical doctrine which 
would level all things, talents and ignorance, virtues 
and vices, places, usages, and services; a doctrine 
which begot that fatal project of organizing the army, 
presented b^ Dubois de Craned, to which it will be in- 
debted for a complete disorganization. 

Mark the date of the presentation of the system of 
this equality of fact, entire equality. It had been 
projected and decreed even at the very opening of 
the Dutch campaign. If any project could encourage 
the want of discipline in the soldiers, any scheme 
could disgust and banish good officers, and throw all 
thmgs into infusion at the moment when order alone 
could give victory, it is this project, in trutli, so stub- 
bo ily defended by the anarchists, and transplanted 
ini their ordinary tactic. 

How could they expect that there should -xist any 
discipline, any subordination, when even in the camp 
they permit motions, censures, and denunciations of 
officers and of generals ? Does not such a disorder 
destroy all the respect that is due to superiors, and 
all the mutuf ! confidence without which success can- 
not be hoped for ? For the spirit of distrust makes 
the soldier suspicious, and intimidates tiie general. 
The first discerns treason in every danger ; the sec- 
ond, always placed between the necessity of conquest 
and the image of the scaffold, dares not raise him- 
self to bold conception, and those heights of courage 
which electrify an army and insure victory. Tu- 
renne, in our time, would have carried his head to 
the scaffold ; for he was sometimes beat : but the rea- 
son why he more frequently conquered was, that his 
discipline was severe ; it was, that his soldiers, conSd- 



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APPENDIX. 



06 



ing in his talents, never muttered discontent instead 
of fighting. Without reciprocal confidence between 
the soldier and the general, there can be no army, no 
victory, especially in a free government. 

Is it not to the same system of anarchy, of equal- 
ization, and want of subordination, which has been 
recommended in some clubs and defended even in 
the Convention, that we owe the pillages, the mur- 
ders, the enormities of all kinds, which it was difficult 
for the officers to put a stop to, from the general spir- 
it of insubordination,— excesses which have rendered 
the French name odious to the Belgians ? Again, is 
it not to this system of anarchy, and of robbery, that 
we are indebted for the revolutionary power, which 
has so justly aggravated the hatred of the Belgians 
against France? 

What did enlightened repiiblicans thn k before the 
10th of August, men who wished for liberty, not only 
for their own country, hut for all Europe ? They be- 
lieved that they could generally establish it by exciting 
the governed against the governors, in letting the people 
see the facility and the advantages of such insurrections. 
But how can the people be led to that point ? By 
the example of good government establislicd among 
us ; by the example of order ; by the care of spread- 
ing nothing but moral ideas among them : to respect 
their properties and their rights; to respect their 
prejudices, even when we combat them: by disin- 
terestedness in defending the people; by a zeal to 
extend 1.he spirit of liberty amongst them. 
This system was at first followed.* Excellent pam- 

• The most seditions libels upon all goTernments, in order to ex- 
dte insurrection in Spain, Holland, and other countries. — Txanb 

LATOB. 



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PBEFACE TO BBISSOT's ADDRESS. 



phlctp^from the pen of '^ondorcet prepared the people 
for Lberty; the 10th of August, the republican de- 
crees, the battle of Valmy, the retreat of the Prus- 
sians, the victory of Jemappcs, all spr'ie in favor of 
France: all was rapidly destroyed by the revolution- 
ary power. Without doubt, good intentions made 
the majority of the Assembly adopt it; they would 
plant the tree of liberty in a foreign soil, under the 
8h. of a people alrcc y free. To the eyes r f the 
people of Belgium it seemed but the mask of a now 
foreign tyranny. This opinion was erroneous ; I will 
suppose It so for a moment; but still this opinion of 
Belgium deserved to be considered. In general we 
have always considered our own opinions and 'our 
own intentions rather than the people whose cause 
we defend. We have given those people a will : that 
IS to say, we have more than ever alienated them from 
liberty. 

How could the Belgic people believe themselves 
free, since we exercise for them, and over them, the 
nghts of sovereignty, -when, without consulting 
them we suppress, all in a mass, their ancient usa 
ges their abuses, their prejudices, those classes of so- 
cio y which without doubt are contrary to the spirit 
of liberty, but the utility of whose destruction was 
not as yet proved to them ? How could they believe 
themselves free and sovereign, when we made them 
take such an oath as we thought fit, as a ..st to give 
them the right of voting? How could they believe 
themselves free, when openly despising their relig- 
lous worship, which religious worship that supersti- 
tious people valued beyond their liberty, beyond even 
their life; when we proscribed their priests; when 
we banished them from their assemblies, where they 



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APPENDIX. 



97 



were in the practice of seeing tliom govern ; when wo 
seized their revenues, their domains, and riches, to 
the profit of the nation ; when we carried to the very 
censer aio o hands which they regarded as profane 'i 
Doubtless these perations were founded on princi- 
ples ; but those principles ought to have had the con- 
sent of the Belgians, before they were carried into 
practice ; otherwise they necessarily became our most 
cruel enemies. 

Arrived ourselves at the last bounds of liberty and 
equality, trampling under our feet all human suf)er- 
stitions, (after, however, a four years' war with them,) 
we attempt all at once to raise to the same eminence 
men, strangers even to the first elementary principles 
of liberty, and plunged for fifteen hundred years in 
ignorance and superstition ; we wished to force men 
to see, when a thick cataract covered their eyes, even 
before we had removed that cataract ; wo would force 
men to see, whose dulness of character had raised a 
mist before their eyes, and before that character was 
altered.* 

• It may not be amiss, once for all, to remark on the style of all 
the philosophical politicians of France. Without any distinction in 
their several sects and parties, they agree in treating all nations who 
will not conform their government, laws, manners, and religion to 
the new French fr.fhion, as an herd of staves. They consider the con- 
tent with which men live under those governments as stupidity, and 
all attachment to religion as the effect of the grossest ignorance. 

The people of the Netherlands, by their Constitution, are as mnch 
entitled to be called free as any nation upon earth. The Austrian 
government ( until some wild attempts the Kmperor Joseph made on 
the French principle, but which have been since abandoned by the 
court of Vienna ) has been remarkably mild. No people were more 
at their ease than the Flemish subjects, particularly the lower classes. 
It is curious to hear this great oculist talk of couching the cataract 
by which the Netherlands were blinded, and hindered from seeing in 

VOL. V. 7 



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FBEFACK TO BBISSOX'S ADDBESS. 



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Do you boliere that the doctrine which now pre- 
vails in France would have found many partisans 
among us in 1789 ? No : a revolution in ideas and 
in prejudices is not made with that rapidity; it 
moves gradually; it does not escalade. 

Philosophy does not inspire by violence, nor by 
seduction ; nor is it the sword that begets love of 
liberty. 

Joseph the Second also borrowed the language of 
philosophy, when he wished to suppress the monks 
in Belgium, and to seize upon their revenues. There 
was seen on 'lim a mask only of philosophy, covering 
the hideous countenance of a greedy despot ; and the 
people ran to arms. Nothing better than another 
kind of despotism has been seen in the revolutionary 
power. 

We have seen in the comn\'*3sioners of the Na- 
tional Convention nothing but proconsuls working 
the mine of Belgium for the profit of the French 
nation, seeking to conquer it for the sovereign of 
Paris, — either to aggrandize his empire, or to share 
the burdens of the debts, and furnish a rich prize 
to the robbers who domineered in France. 

Do you believe the Belgians have ever been the 

its proper colors the beautiful vision of the French republic, which 
he has himself painted with so masterly an hand. That people must 
needs be dull, blind, and brutalized by fifteen hundred years of super- 
stition, ( the time elapsed since the introduction of Christianity 
amongst them,) who could prefer their former state to the present 
tlate of France I The reader will '•emark, that the only difference 
between Brissot and his adversai s in the mode of bringing other 
nations into the pale of the French republic. TTiey would abolish 
the order and classes of society, and all religion, at a stroke : Brissot 
would have just the same thing done, but with more address and 
management. — Tbamslatob. 



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APPENDIX. 



99 



dupes of those well-rouuded periods which they vend- 
ed in the pulpit in order to familiarize them to the 
idea of an union with France ? Do you believe they 
were ever imposed upon by those votes and resolu- 
tions, made by what is called acclamation, for their 
union, of which corruption paid one part,* and fear 
forced the remainder ? Who, at this time of day, 
is unacquainted with the springs and wires of their 
mibtrable puppet-show ? Who does not know the farces 
of primary assemblies, composed of a president, of a 
secretary, and of some assistants, whose day's work was 
paid for? No: it is not by means which belong 
only to thieves and despots that the foundations 
of liberty can be laid in an enslaved country. It 
is not by those means, that a new-born republic, a 
people who know not yet the elements of republican 
governments, can be united to us. Even slaves do 
not suffer themselves to be seduced by such artifices ; 
and if they have not the strength to resist, they have 
at least the sense to know how to appreciate the val- 
ue of such an attempt. 

If we would attach the Belgians to us, wc must at 
least enlighten their minds by good toritings ; we must 
send to them missionaries, and not despotic commis- 
sioners.! "We ought to give them time to see, — to 
perceive by themselves the advantages of liberty, the 
unhappy effects of superstition, the fatal spirit of 
priesthood. And whilst we waited for this moral 



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• Sec the correspondence of Damouriez, especially the letter of 
the 12th of March. 

t They have not as yet proceeded farther with regard to the Eng- 
lish dominions. Here we only see as yet the good writings of Paine, 
and of his learned associates, and the labors of the missi«naty clubs, 
and other zealous instructors. — Tkanslator. 



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100 



PBEFACE TO BBISSOT's ADDBESS. 



revolution, we should have accepted the offers whi h 
they incessantly repeated to join to the French army 
an army of fifty thousand men, to entertain them at 
their own expense, and to advance to France the 
specie of which she stood in need. 

But have we ever seen those fifty thousand sol- 
diers who were to join our army as soon as the 
standard of liberty should be displayed in Belgium ? 
Have we ever seen those treasures which they were 
to count into our hands ? Can we either accuse the 
sterility of their country, or the penury of their treas- 
ure, or the coldness of their love for liberty ? No ! 
despotism and anarchy, these are the benefits which 
we have transplanted into their soil. We have acted, 
we have spoken, like masters ; and from that time 
we have found the Flemings nothing but jugglers, 
who made the grimace of liberty for money, or 
slaves, who in their hearts cursed their new tyrants. 
Our commissioners address them in this sort : " You 
have nobles and priests among you: drive them out 
without delay, or we will neither be your brethren 
nor your patrons." They answered : " Give us but 
time ; only leave to us the care of reforming these 
institutions." Our answer to them was : " No ! it 
must be at the moment, it must be on the spot; 
or we will treat you as enemies, we will abandon 
you to the resentment of the Austrians." 

What could the disarmed Belgians oliject to all 
this, surrounded as they were by seventy thousand 
men ? They had only to hold their tongues, and to 
bow down their heads before their masters. They 
did hold their tongues, and their silence is received 
as a sincere and free assent. 

Have not the strangest artifices been adopted to 



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APPENDIX. 



101 



prevent that people from retr ating, and to constrain 
them to aii union? It was foreseen, that, as long 
as they were unable to effect an union, the States 
would preserve the supreme authority amongst them- 
selves. Under pretence, therefore, of relieving the 
people, and of exercising the sovereignty in their 
right, at one stroke they abolished all the duties 
and taxes, they shut up all the treasuries. Prom 
that time no more receipts, no more public money, 
no more means of paying the salaries of any man 
in office appointed by the States. Thus was anarchy 
organized amongst the people, that they might be 
compelled to throw themselves into our arms. It 
became necessary for those who administered their 
affairs, under the penalty of being exposed to sedi- 
tion, and in order to avoid their throats being cut, 
to have recourse to the treasury of France. What 

did they find in this treasury ? ASSIGNATS. 

Tlicso assignats were advanced at par to Belgium. 
By this means, on the one hand, they naturalized 
this currency in that country, and on the other, 
they expected to make a good pecuniary transaction. 
Thus it is that covetousness cut its throat with its 
own hands. The Belgians have seen in this forced 
introduction of assignats nothing but a double robbery ; 
and they have only the more violently hated the 
union with France. 

Recollect the solicitude of the Belgians on that 
subject. "With what earnestness did they conjure 
you to take off a retroactive effect from these as- 
signats, and to prevent thei. ♦rom being applied to 
the payment of debts that were contracted anterior 
to the union! 

Did not this language energetically enough signify 



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PBEFACE TO BBISSOX'S ADDBESS. 



that they looked upon the assignats as a leprosy, od^ 
the union as a deadly contagion ? 

And yet what regard was paid to so just a de- 
mand ? It was buried in the Committee of Finance. 
That committee wanted to make anarchy the means 
of an union. They only busied themselves in making 
the Belgic Provinces subservient to their finances. 

Cambon said loftily before the Belgians themselves: 
The Belgian wai , osts us hundreds of millions. Their 
ordinary revenues, and even some extraordinary tax- 
es, will not answer to our reimbursements ; and yet 
we have occasion for them. The mortgage of our 
assignats draws near its end. "What must be done ? 
Sell the Church property of Brabant. There is a 
mortgage of two thousand millions (eighty millions 
sterling). How shall we get possessira of them? 
By an immediate union. Instantly they decreed this 
union. Men's minds were not disposed to it. What 
does it signify? Let us make them vote by means 
of money. Without delay, therefore, they secretly 
order the Minister of Foreign Affairs to dispose of 
four or five hundred thousand livres (20,000Z. ster- 
ling) to make the vagabonds of Brussels drunk, and to 
buy proselytes to the union in all the States. But 
even these means, it was said, will obtain but a 
weak minority in our favor. What does that sig- 
nify? Revolutions, said they, are made only by mi- 
rwrities. It is the minority which has made the Revo- 
lution of France; it is a minority which has made the 
people triumph. 

The Belgic Provinces were not sufficient to satisfy 
the voracious cravings of this financial system. Cam- 
bon wanted to unite everything, that he might sell 
everything. Thus he forced the union of Savoy. In 






APPENDIX. 



103 



the war with Holland, he saw nothing but gold to 
seize on, and assignats to sell at par.* "Do not 
let us dissc. ' le," said he one day to the Commit- 
tee of General Defence, in presence even of the pa- 
triot deputies of Holland, "you have no ecclesias- 
tical goods to offer us for our indemnity. IT IS 
A REVOLUTION IN THEIR COUNTERS AND 
IRON CHESTS t that must be made amongst the 
Dutch." The word was said, and the bankers Abe- 
ma and Van Staphorst understood it. 

Do you think that that word has not been worth 
an army to the Str. tholder ? that it has not cooled 
the ardor of the Dutch patriots ? that it has not com- 
manded the vigorous defence of Williamstadt? 

Do you believe that the patriots of Amsterdam, 
when they read the preparatory decree which gave 
France an execution on their goods, — do you be 
lieve that those patriots would not have liked better 
to have remained under the government of the Stadt- 
holder, who took from them no more than a fixed 
portion of their property, than to pass under that of 
a revolutionary power, which would make a complete 
revolution in their bureaus and strong-boxes, and 
reduce them to wretchedness and rags ? | Robberj 

• The same thing will happen in Savoy. The persecution of the 
clergy has soured people's minds. The r- 'sari-^s represent them 
to us as good Frenchmen. I put them ' oof. Where are the 

legions? How! thirty thousand Savoya ^re they not irn ' 'o 

defend, in concert with us, their liberty 1 — iirissot. 

t Portefeuille is the word in the original. It signifies all mova- 
ble property which may be represented ip bonds, notes, bills, stocks, 
or any sort of public or private securities. I do not know of a single 
word in English that answers it : I have therefore substituted that of 
Iron Cliests, as coming nearest to the idea. — Tbanslatob. 

t In the original les reduire a la sanscutotterie. 



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PREFACE TO BBISSOT'S ADDRESS. 



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and anarchy, instead of encouraging, will always sti- 
fle revolutions. 

" But why," they object to me, " have not you and 
your friends chosen to expose these measures in the 
rostrum of the National Convention? Wliy have 
you not opposed yourself to all these fatal projects 
of union '" 

There are two answers to make here, — on'' gen- 
eral, one particular. 

You complain of the silence of honest men ! You 
quite forget, then, honest men are the objects of 
your suspicion. Suspicion, if it does not stain the 
soul of a courageous man, at least arrests his 
thoughts in their passage to his lips. The suspi- 
cions of a good citizen freeze those men whom the 
calumny of the wicked could not stop in their prog- 
ress. 

You complain c heir silence ! You forget, then, 
that you have ofteu established an insultuig equality 
between them and men covered with crimes and 
made up of ignominy. 

You forget, then, that you have twenty times left 
them covered with opprobrium by your galleries. 

You forget, then, that you have not thought your- 
self suiBciently powerful to impose silence upon these 
galleries. 

What ouglit p wise man to do in the midst of 
these circumstances? He is silent. He waits the 
moment when the passions give way ; he waits till 
reason shall preside, and till the multitude shall lis- 
ten to her voice. 

Wliat has been the tactic displayed during all 
these unions ? Cambon, incapable of political calcu- 
lation, boasting his ignorance in tlie diplomatic, flat- 



APPENDIX. 



105 



tering the iguoraut multitude, lending his name and 
popularity to the anarchists, seconded by their vocifer- 
ations, denounced incessantly, as counter-revolution- 
ists, those mtelligent persons who were desirous at 
least of having things discussed. To oppose the acts 
of union appeared to Cambon an overt act of trea- 
son. The wish so much as to reflect and to dehber- 
ate was in his eyes a great crime. He calumniated 
our intentions. The voice of every deputy, especially 
my voice, would infallibly have been stifled. There 
were spies on the very monosyllables that escaped 
our lips. 



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LETTER 

TO 

WILLIAM ELLIOT, ESQ., 

OC'CASIOMKD BT 

THE ACCOUNT GIVEN IN A NEWSPAPER OF THE 

SPEECH MADE IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS 

BY THE *••• OF ••*•••• 

U TRB DEBATK 

CONCERNING LORD FITZWILLIAM. 
1795- 






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LETTER. 



Beacomsfield, May 26, 1795. 

MY DEAR SIR, — I have been iold of the vol- 
untary which, for the entei tainment of the 
House of Lords, has been lately played by his Grace 
tjjQ «•«* of ♦»«««««^ a, great deal at my expense, and 
a little at his own. I confess I should have I'ked the 
composition rather better, if it had been quite new. 
But every man has his taste, and his Grace is an ad- 
mirer of ancient music. 

There may be sometimes too much even of a good 
thing. A toast is good, and a bumper is not bad : 
but the best toasts may be so often repeated as to 
disgust the palate, and ceaseless rounds of bumpers 
may nauseate and overload the stomach. The ears 
of t>.e most steady-voting politicians may at last be 
stunned with " three times three." I am sure I have 
been very grateful for the flattering remembrance 
made of me in the toasts of the Revolution Society, 
and of other clubs formed on the same laudable plan. 
After giving the brimming honors Citizen Thomas 
Paine and to Citizen Dr. Priestley, the gentlemen of 
these clubs seldom failed to bring me forth in my 
turn, and to drink, " Mr. Burke, and thanks to him 
for the discussion he has provoked." 

I found myself elevated with this honor ; for, even 
by the collision of resistance, to be the means of 



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LETTER TO WILLIAM ELUOT, ESQ. 



striking out sparkles of truth, if not merit, is al least 
felicity. 

Here I might have rested. But when I found that 
the great advocate, Mr. Erskine, condescended to re- 
sort to these bumper toasts, as the pure and exuber- 
ant fountains of politics and of rhetoric, (as I hear he 
did, in three or four speeches made in defence of cer- 
tain worthy citizens,) I was rather let down a little. 
Though still somewhat proud of myself, I was not 
quite so proud of my voucher. Though he is no 
idolater of fame, in some way or other Mr. Erskine 
will always do himself honor. Methinks, however, 
in following the precedents of these toasts, he seemed 
to do more credit to b's diligence as a special plead- 
er than to his inve- n orator. To those who 
did not know the ab^ ' his resources, both of 
genius and erudition, i.. 'omething in it that 
indicated the want of a gooa uBoortment, with regard 
to richness and variety, in the magazine of topics and 
commonplaces which I suppose he keeps by him, in 
imitation of Cicero and other renowned declaimers of 
antiquity. 

Mr. Erskine supplied something, I allow, from the 
stores of his imagination, in metamorphosing the jo- 
vial toasts of clubs into solemn special arguments at 
the '^ar. So far the thing showed talent: however, I 
must still prefer the bar of the tavern to the other 
bar. The toasts at the first hand were better than 
the arguments at the second. Even wlien the toasts 
began to grow old as sarcasms, they were washed 
down with still older pricked election Port ; then the 
acid of the wine made some amends for the want of 
anything piquant in the wit. But when his Grace 
gave them a second transformation, and brought out 






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LETTER TO WnXUM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



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the vapid stuff which had wearied the club and d^s^ 
gusted the courts, the drug made up of tb« bottoms 
^rejected bottles, all smelling so wofully of the cork 
and of the cask, and of everything except the lion- 
et c^d lamp, and when that sad draught had been 

farther infected with the jail Hl"t^«;.^f^'^^!„X 
Bailey, and was dashed and brewed and meffectuaUy 
ftummed again into a senatorial exordium m the 
£r of Lords, I found all the high flavor a^d 
mantling of my honors tasteless, Aa ' ^^^ ^*^^«^ 
Unluckily, the new tax on wine is felt ev the 

greatest fortunes, and his Grace submits t ip 

with the heel-taps of Mr. Erskine. 

I have had the ill or good fortune to provoke two 
great men of this age to the publication of their opin- 
bns: I mean Citizen Thomas Pame, and his Grace 
the **** of ****♦**. I am not so great a leveller 
as to put these two great men on ^Par, either in 
the state, or the republic of letters; but " the fidd 
of glory is a field for all." It is a large one, indeed , 
and we all may run, God knows where, m chase of 
gW over the boundless expanse of that wild heath 
whol; horizon always flies before us. I assiire his 
Grace Cif be will yet give me leave to call him so,) 
whate;er may be 'aid on the authority of the clubs 
ov of the bar that Citizen Paine (who, they will have 
it, hunts with me in couples, and who only moves as 
I drng him along) has a sufficient activity m his own 
native benevolence to dispose and enable him to take 
the lead for himself. He is ready to blaspheme >m8 
God, to insult his king, and to libel the Constitution 
of his country, without any provocation from me or 
any encouragement from his Grace. I assure him 
that I shall not be guilty of the injustice of charging 






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112 



LEirEB TO WILLUM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



Mr. Paine's next work against religion and human 
society upon his Grace's excellent speech in the 
House of Lords. I farther assure this noble Duke 
that I neither encouraged nor provoked tliat worthy 
citizen to seek for plenty, liLertj, safety, justice, or 
lenity, in the famine in the prisons, in the decrees 
of Convention, in the revolutionary tribunal, and in 
the guillotine of Pa-'j, rather than quietly to take 
up with what he .ould find in the glutted markets, 
the unbarricadoed streets, the drowsy Old Bailey 
judges, or, at wo..i, the airy, wholesome pillory of 
Old England. TIk choice of country was his own 
taste. The writings were the effects of his owu zeal. 
In spite of his friend Dr. Priestley, he was a free 
agent. I admit, indeed, that my praises of the Brit- 
ish government, loaded with all its incumbrances, 
clogged with its peers and its beef, its parsons and 
its pudding, its commons and its beer, and its dull 
slavish liberty of going about just as one pleases, had 
something to provoke a jockey of Norfolk,* who was 
inspired with the resolute ambition of becoming a cit- 
izen of France, to do something which might render 
him worthy of naturalization in tliat grand asylum 
of persecuted merit, something which sliould entitle 
him to a place in the senate of the p.doptivc country 
of all the gallant, generous, and humane. This, I 
say, was possible. But the truth is, (witli groat def- 
erence to his Grace I say it,) Citizen Paine acted 
without any provocation at all ; he acted solely from 
the native impulses of his own excellent heart. 

His Grace, like an able orator, as ho is, begins with 
giving me a great deal of praise for talents which I 
do not possess. He does this to entitle himself, on the 

* Mr. Paine is a Norfolk man, from Thctford. 



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LETTER TO WILLIAM ELUOT, ESQ. 



113 



credit of this gratuitous kindness, to exaggerate my 
abuse of the parts which his bounty, and not that of 
Nature, has bestowed upon me. In this, too, he has 
condescended to copy Mr. Erskine. Those priests ( I 
hope they will excuse me, I mean priests of the Rights 
of Man) begin by crowning me with their flowers and 
their fillets, and bedewing me with their odors, as a 
preface to their knocking me on the head with their 
consecrated axes. I have injured, say they, the Con- 
stitution ; and I have abandoned the Whig party and 
the Whig principles that I professed. I do not mean, 
my dear Sir, to defend myself against his Grace. I 
have not much interest in what the world shall think 
or say of me ; as little has the world an interest 
in what I shall think or say of any one in it ; and 
I ^ish that his Grace had suffered an unhappy 
man to enjoy, in his retreat, the melancholy privi- 
leges of obscurity and sorrow. At any rate, I have 
spoken and I have written on the subject. If I 
have written or spoken so poorly as to be quite for- 
got, a fresh apology will not make a more lasting 
impression. " I must let the tree lie as it falls." 
Perhaps I must take some shame to myself. I con- 
fess that I have acted on my own principles of gov- 
ernment, and not on those of nis Grace, which are, 
I dare say, proiound and wise, but which I do nci 
pretend to understand. As to the party to which he 
alludes, and which has long taken its leave of me, I 
believe the principles of the book which he condemns 
are very conformable to the opinions of ii\nny of the 
most considerable and most grave in thai descrip- 
tion of politicians. A few, indeed, who, I admit, are 
equally respectable in all points, differ from me, and 
talk his Grace's language. I am too feeble to con- 

VOL. V. 8 



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LETTER TO WILLIAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



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tend with them. They have the field to themselves. 
There are others, very young and very ingenious i)er- 
fcons, who form, probably, the largest part of what 
his Grace, I believe, is pleased to consider as that 
party. Some of them were not born into the world, 
and all of them were children, when I entered into 
that connection. I give due credit to the censorial 
brow, to the broad phylacteries, and to the imposing 
gravity of those magisterial rabbins and doctors in 
the cabala of political science. I admit that " wisdom 
is as the gray hair to man, and that learning is like 
honorable old age." But, at a time when liberty is 
a good deal talked of, perhaps I miglit be excused, 
if I caught something of the general indocility. It 
might not be surprising, if I lengtliened my chain a 
link cr two, and, in an age of relaxed discipline, gave 
a trifling indulgence to my own notions. If that 
could be allowed, perhaps I might sometimes (by 
accident, and without an unpardonable crime) trust 
as much to my own very careful and very laborious, 
though perhaps somewhat purblind disquisitions, as 
to their soaring, intuitive, eagle-eyed authority. But 
the modern liberty is a precious thing. It must not 
be profaned by too vulgar an use. It belongs only to 
the chosen few, who are born to the hereditary rep- 
resentation of tl'3 whole democracy, and who leave 
nothing at all, no, not the offal, to us poor outcasts 
of the plebeian race. 

Amongst those gentlemen who came to authority 
as soon or sooner than they came of age I do not 
mean to include his Grace. With all those native 
titles to empire over our minds which distinguish the 
others, he has a large share of experience. He cer- 
tainly ought to understand the Britisli Constitution 






LETTER TO WILLIAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



115 



better than I do. He has studied it in the funda- 
mental part. For one election I have seen, he has 
been concerned in twenty. Nobody is less of a vis- 
ionary theorist; nobody has drawn his speculations 
more from practice. No peer has condescended to 
superintend with more vigilance the declining fran- 
chises of the poor commons. "With thrice great 
Hermes he has outwatched the Bear." Often have 
his candles been burned to the snuff, and glimmered 
and stunk in the sockets, whilst he grew pale at 
his constitutional studies ; long, sleepless nights has 
he wasted, long, laborious, shiftless journeys has he 
made, and great sums has he expended, in order to 
secure the purity, the independence, and the sobriety 
of elections, and to give a check, if possible, to the 
ruinous charges that go nearly to the destruction of 
the right of election itself. 

Amidst these his labors, his Grace will be pleased 
to forgive me, if my zeal, less enlightened, to be sure, 
than iiis by midnight lamps and studies, has pre- 
sumed to talk too favorably of this Constitution, and 
even to say something sounding like approbation of 
that body which has the honor to reckon his Grace at 
the head of it. Those who dislike this partiality, or, 
if his Grace pleases, this flattery of mine, have a com- 
fort at hand. I may be refuted and brought to shame 
by the most convincing of all refutations, a practical 
refutation. Every individual peer for himself may 
show that I was ridiculously v:rong ; the whole body 
of those noble persons may refute me for the whole 
corps. If they please, they are more powerful advo- 
cates against themselves than a thousand scribblers 
like me can be in their favor. If I were even pos- 
sessed of those powers which his Grace, iu order to 



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LETTER TO WILUAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



heighten my offence, is pleased to attribute to me, 
there would be little difference. The eloquence of 
Mr. Erskine might save Mr. ***** from the gallows, 
but no eloquence could save Mr. Jackson from the 
effects of his own potion. 

In that unfortunate book of mine, which is put iu 
the Index Expurgatorius of the modern Whigs, I might 
have spoken too favorably not only of those who wear 
coronets, but of those who wear crowns. Kings, how- 
ever, liave not only long arms, but strong ones too. 
A great Northern potentate, for instance, is able in 
one moment, and with one bold stroke of his diplo- 
matic pen, to efface all the volumes which I could 
write in a century, or which the most laborious pub- 
licists of Germany ever carried to the fair of Leipsic, 
as an apology for monarchs and monarchy. Whilst 
I. or any other poor, puny, private sophist, was de- 
fending the Declaration of Pilnitz, his Majesty might 
refute me by the Treaty of Basle. Such a monarch 
may destroy one republic becaus-e it had a king at its 
head, and he may balance this extraordinary act by 
founding another republic that has cut off the head 
of its king. I defended that great potentate for as- 
sociating in a grand alliance for the preservation of 
the old governments of Europe ; but he puts me to 
silence by delivering up all those governments (his 
own virtually included) to the new system of France. 
If he is accused before the Parisian tribunal (consti- 
tuted for the trial of kings) for having polluted the 
soil of liberty by the tracks of his disciplined slaves, 
he clears himself by surrendering the fine?' arts of 
Germany (with a handsome cut of his own terri- 
tories) to the offended majesty of the regicides of 
Prance. Can I resist this? Am I responsible for 



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LETTER TO WILUAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



117 



it, if, with a torch in his hand, and a ropo about 
his neck, he makes amende honorable to the sans-cn- 
lotterie of the Republic one and indivisible ? In that 
humiliating attitude, in spite of my protests, he may 
supplicate pardon for his menacing proclamations, 
and, as an expiation to those whom he failed to 
terrify with his threats, he may abandon those whom 
he had seduced by his promises. He may sacrifice 
the royalists of France, whom he had called to his 
standard, as a salutary example to those who shall 
adhere to their native sovereign, or shall confide in 
any other who undertakes the cause of oppressed 
kings and of loyal subjects. 

How can I help it, if this high-minded prince will 
subscribe to the invectives which the regicidv s have 
made against all kings, and particularly against him- 
self? How can I help it, if this royal propagandist 
will preach the doctrine of the Rights of Men ? Is it 
my fault, if his professors of literature read lectures 
on that code in all his academies, and if all the pen- 
sioned managers of the newspapers in his dominions 
diflfuse it throughout Europe in an hundred journals ? 
Can it be attributed to me, if he will initiate all his 
grenadiers and all his hussars in these high myste- 
ries ? Am I responsible, if he will make Le Droit de 
r Homme, or La Souverainete du Peuple the favorite pa- 
role of his military orders ? Now that his troops are 
to act with the brave legions of freedom, no doubt he 
will fit them for their fraternity. He will teach the 
Prussians to think, to feel, and to act like them, and 
to emulate the glories of the regiment de VSchafaud. 
He will employ the illustrious Citizen Santerre, the 
general of his new allies, to instruct the dull Ger- 
mans how they shall conduct themselves: towards 



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LBOTEB TO WILLIAM ELUOT, ESQ. 



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persons who, like Louis tlio Sixteenth, (wlioso cause 
and person he once took into his protection,) shall 
dare, without the sanction of tlie people, or with it, 
to consider themselves as hereditary kings. Can I 
arrest this great potentate in his career of glory? 
Am I blamable in recommending virtue and religion 
as tlie true foundation of all monarchio.' 'cause the 
protector of the tiireo religions of the .. estplialian 
arrangement, to ingratiate himself with the Republic 
of Philosophy, shall abolish all tiie three ? It is not 
in my power to prevent the grand patron of tlie Re- 
formed Church, if he chooses it, from annulling the 
Calvinistic sabbath, and establishing the d^cadi of 
atlieism in all his states. He may even renounce 
and abjure his favorite mysticism in the Temple of 
Reason. In those things, at least, he is truly despot- 
ic. He has now shaken hands with everything wliich 
at first had inspired him with horror. It would be 
curious indeed to see (what I shall not, however, 
travel so far to see) the ingenious devices and the 
elegant transparencies which, on the restoration of 
peace and the commencement of Prussian liberty, 
are to decorate Potsdam and Cliarlottenburg /«8<f^- 
cfianti. "What shades of his armed ancestors of the 
House of Brandenburg will the committee of Illur 
mines raise up in tlie opera-house of Berlin, to dance 
a grand ballet in the rejoicings for this auspicious 
event ? Is it a grand master of the Teutonic order, 
or is it tlie great Elector? Is it the first king of 
Prussia, or the last ? or is the whole long line ( long, 
I mean, a parte ante) to appear like Banquo's royal 
procession in the tragedy of Macbeth ? 

How can I prevent all these arts of royal policy, 
and all these displays of royal magnificence ? How 



LETTER TO WILLIAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



119 



can I prevent the successor of Frederick the Great 
from aspiring to a new, and, in this age, unexampled 
kind of glory ? Is it in my power to say that he 
shall not make his confessions in the style of St. Aus- 
tin or of Rousseau ? that he shall not assume the 
character of the penitent and flagellant, and, grafting 
monkery on philosophy, strip himself of his regal 
purple, clothe his gigantic limbs in the sackcloth 
and the hair-shirt, and exercise on his broad shoul- 
ders the disciplinary scourge of the holy order of the 
Sans -Culottes f It is not in me to hinder kings from 
making new orders of religious and martial knight- 
hood. I am not Hercules enough to uphold those 
orbs which the Atlases of the world are so desirous 
of shifting from their weary shoulders. "What cau 
be done against the laagnanimous resolution of the 
great to accomplish the degradation and the ruin 
of their own character and situation ? 

What I say of the German princes, that I say of 
all the other dignities and all the other institutions 
of the Holy Roman Empire. If they have a mind to 
destroy themselves, they may put their advo ' s to 
silence and their advisers to shame. I have often 
praised the Aulic Council. It is very true, I did so. 
I thought it a tribunal as well formed as human wis- 
dom could form a tribunal for coercing the great, 
the rich, and the powerful, — for obliging them to 
submit their necks to the imperial laws, and to those 
of Nature and of nations : a tribunal well conceived 
for extirpating peculation, corruption, and oppres- 
sion from all the parts of that vast, heterogeneous 
mass, called the Germanic body. I should not be 
inclined to retract these praises upon any of the or- 
dinary lapses into which human infirmity will fall ; 



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LETTEB TO WILLIAM ELUOT, ESQ. 



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they might still stand, though some of their conclu- 
iums should taste of the prejudices of country or ot 
faction, whether political or religious. Some degree 
even of corruption should not make me think them 
guilty of suicide ; but if wo could suppose that the 
Auhc Council, not regarding duty or even common 
decorum, listening neither to the secret admonitions 
of conscience nor to the public voice of fame, some 
of the members basely abandoning their post, and 
others continuing in it only the more infamously 
to betray it, should give a judgment so shameless 
and so prostitute, of such monstrous and even por- 
tentous corruption, that no example in the history of 
human depravity, or even in the fictions of poetic im- 
agination, could possibly match it, — if it should be 
a judgment which, with cold, unfeeling cruelty, after 
long deliberations, should condemn millions of inno- 
cent people to extortion, to rapine, and to blood, and 
should devote some of the finest countries upon earth 
to ravage and desolation, - does anyone think that 
any servile apologies of mine, or any strutting and 
bullying insolence of their own, can save them from 
the ruin that must fall on all institutions of dignitv 
or of authority that are perverted from their purport 
to the oppression of human nature in others and to 
Its disgrace in themselves? As the wisdom of men 
makes such institutions, the folly of men destroys 
them. Whatever we may pretend, there is always 
more in the soundness of the materials than in the 
fashion of the work. The order of a good building 
IS something. But if it be wholly declined from its 
perpendicular, if the cement is loose and incoherent, 
If the stones are scaling with every change of the 
weather, and the whole toppling on our heads, what 



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■,ETTEB TO WILUA ELLIOT, ESQ. 



121 



matter ia it whether we are crushed by a Corinlhm 
or a Doric ruin ? Tlie fine form of a vessel is ■>. mu 
ter of use and of delight. It is pleasant t ' ,. her 
decorated with cost and art. But what signifies 
even the matiiematical truth of her form, — what 
siguiiy all the art and cost with which she can be 
carved, and painted, and gilded, and covered with 
decorations from stem to stern, — what signify all 
her rigging and sails, her flags, her pendants, and 
her streamers, — what signify even her cannon, her 
stores, and her provisions, if all her planks and tim- 
bers be unsound and rotten? 

Quamvis Fontica pinus, 

Silves filia nobilii, 

Jactes et genus et nomen inutUe. 

I have been stimulated, I know not how, to giro 
you this trouble by what very few except myself 
would think worth any trouble at all. In a speech 
in the House of Lords, I have been attacked for the 
defence of a scheme of government in which that 
body inheres, and in which alone it can exist. Peers 
of Great Britain may become as penitent as the sover- 
eign of Prussia. They may repent of what they have 
done in assertion of the honor of their king, and in 
favor of their own safety. But never the gloom that 
lowers over the fortune of the cause, nor anything 
which the great may do towards hastening tlieir 
own fall, can make me repent of what I have done 
by pen or voice (the only arms I possess) in favor 
of the order of things into which I was born and in 
which I fondly hoped to die. 

In the long series of ages which have furnished 
the matter of history, never was so beautiful and so 
august a spectacle presented to the moral eye as Eu- 



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LETTER TO WILLIAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



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rope afforded the day before the Revolution in France. 
I knew, indeed, that this prosperity contained in it- 
self the seeds of its own danger. In one part of the 
society it caused laxity and debility; in the other 
it produced bold spirits and dark designs. A false 
philosophy passed from academies into courts; and 
the great themselves were infected with the theuries 
which conducted to their ruin. Knowledge, which 
in the two last centuries either did not exist at all, 
or existed solidly on right principles and in chosen 
hands, was now diffused, weakened, and perverted. 
General wealth loosened morals, relaxed vigilance, 
and increased presumption. Men of talert began to 
compare, in the partition of the common stock of 
public prosperity, the proportions of the dividends 
with the merits of the claimants. As usual, they 
found their portion not equal to their estimate (or 
perhaps to the public estimate) of their own worth. 
When it was once discovered by the Revolution in 
France that a struggle between establishment and 
rapacity could be maintained, though but for one 
year and in one place, I was sure that a practicable 
bread! was made in the whole order of things, and 
in every country. Religion, that held the materials 
of the fabric together, was first systematically loos- 
ened. All other opinions, under the name of preju- 
dices, must fall along with it ; and property, left un 
defended by principles, became a repository of spoils 
to tempt cupidity, and not a magazine to furnish 
arms for defence. I knew, that, attacked on all sides 
by the infernal energies of talents set in action by 
vice and disorder, authority could not stand upon 
authority alone. It wanted some other support than 
the poise of its own gravity. Situations formerly 



LETTEB TO WILUAM ElilOT, ESQ. 



123 



Bupported persons. It now became necessary that 
personal qualities should support situations. For- 
merly, where authority was found, wisdom and vir- 
tue were presumed. But now the veil was torn, and, 
to keep off sacrilegious intrusion, it was necessary that 
in the sanctuary of government something should be 
disclosed not only venerable, but dreadful. Govern- 
ment was at once to show itself full of virtue and 
full of force. It was to invite partisans, by making 
it appear to the world that a generous cause was 
to be asserted, one fit for a generous people to en- 
gage in. Prom passive submission was it to expect 
resolute defence ? No ! It must have warm advo- 
cates and passionate defenders, which an heavy, dis- 
contented acquiescence never could produce. What 
a base and foolish thing is it for any consolidated 
body of authority to say, or to act as if it said, " I 
will put my trust, not in my own virtue, but in your 
patience ; I will indulge in effeminacy, in indolence, 
in corruption ; I will give way to all my perverse 
and vicious humors, because you cannot punish me 
without the hazard of ruining yourselves." 

I wished to warn the people against the greatest 
of all evils, — a blind and furious spirit of innova- 
tion, under the name of reform. I was, indeed, well 
aware that power rarely reforms itself. So it is, un- 
doubtedly, when all is quiet about it. But I was in 
hopes that provident fear might prevent fruitless 
penitence. I trusted that danger might produce at 
least circumspection. I flattered myself, in a mo- 
ment like this, that nothing would be added to make 
authority top-heavy, — that the very moment of an 
earthquake would not be the time chosen for adding 
a story to our houses. I hoped to see the surest of all 






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LETTER TO WILUAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



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reforms, perhaps the only sure reform,— the ceasing 
to do iU. In the mean time I wished to the people 
the wisdom of knowing how to tolerate a condition 
which none of their efforts can render much more 
than tolerable. It was a condition, however, in which 
everything was to be found that could enable them 
to live to Nature, and, if so they pleased, to live to 
virtue and to honor. 

I do not repent that I thought better of those to 
whom I wished well than they will suffer me long 
to think that they deserved. Par from repenting, I 
would to God that new faculties had been called up 
m me, in favor not of this or that man, or this or 
that system, but of the general, vital principle, that, 
whilst It was in its vigor, produced the state of things 
transmitted to us from our fathers, but which, through 
the joint operation of the abuses of authority and lib- 
erty, may perish in our hands. I am not of opinion 
that the race of men, and the commonwealths they 
create, like the bodies of individuals, grow effete and 
languid and bloodless, and ossify, by the necessities 
of their own conformation, and the fatal operation of 
longevity and time. These analogies between bodies 
natural and politic, though they may sometimes illus- 
trate arguments, furnish no argument of themselves. 
They are but too often used, under the color of a 
specious philosophy, to find apologies for the despair 
of laziness and pusillanimity, and to excuse the want 
of all manly efforts, when the exigencies of our coun- 
try call for them the more loudly. 

How often has public calamity been arrested on 
the very brink of ruin by the seasonable energy of 
a single man! Have we no such man amongst us ? I 
am as sure as I am of my being, that one vigorous 



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LETTER TO WILUAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



125 



mind, without office, without situation, without public 
functions of any kind, (at a time when the want of 
such a thing is felt, as I am sure it is,) I say, one 
such man, confiding in the aid of God, and full of 
just reliance in his own fortitude, vigor, enterprise, 
and perseverance, would first draw to him some 
few like himself, and then that multitudes, hardly 
thought to be in existence, would appear and troop 
about him. 

If I saw this auspicious beginning, baffled and frus- 
trated as I am, yet on the very verge of a time- 
ly grave, abandoned abroad and desolate at home, 
stripped of my boast, my hope, my consolation, my 
helper, my counsellor, and my guide, (you know in 
part what I have lost, and would to God I could clear 
myself of all neglect anri fault in that loss,) yet thus, 

'ip the fire under all the 
' 'u no longer patient of the 
force to win my way and 
u crowd. But, even in sol- 
be done for society. The 
meditations of the closet have infected senates with 
a subtle frenzy, and inflamed armies with the brands 
of the Furies. The cure might come from the same 
source with the distemper. I would add my part to 
those ^vho would animate the people (whose hearts 
are yet right) to new exertions in the old cause. 

Novelty is not the only source of zeal. Why should 
not a Maccabaeus and his brethren arise to assert the 
honor of the ancient law and to defend the temple 
of their forefathers with as ardent a spirit as can 
inspire any innovator to destroy the monuments of 
the piety and the glory of ancient ages? It is not 
a hazarded assertion, it is a great truth, that, when 



even thus, I would " . 
ashes that oppress : ' 
public eye ; nor at I 
to justle and elbow i 
itude, something may 



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LETTER TO WILLIAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



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once things are gone out of their ordinary course, 
it is by acts out of the ordinary course they can alone 
be reestablished. Republican spirit can only be com- 
bated by a spirit of the same nature, — of the same 
nature, but informed with another principle, and 
pointing to another erid. I would persuade a resist- 
ance both to the corruption and to the reformation 
that prevails. It will not be the weaker, but much 
the stronger, for combating both together. A victory 
over real corruptions would enable us to baffle the 
spurious and pretended reformations. I would not 
wish to excite, or even to tolerate, that kind of evil 
spirit which evokes the powers of hell to rectify the 
disorders of the earth. No ! I would add my voice 
with better, and, I trust, more potent charms, to 
draw down justice and wisdom and fortitude from 
heaven, for the correction of human vice, and the 
recalling of human error from the devious ways 
into which it has been betrayed. I would wish to 
call the impulses of individuals at once to the aid 
and to the control of authority. By this, which I 
call the true republican spirit, paradoxical as it may 
appear, monarchies alone can be rescued from the 
imbecility of courts and the madness of the crowd. 
This republican spirit would not suffer men in high 
place to bring ruin on their country and on them- 
selves. It would reform, not by destroying, but by 
saving, the great, the rich, and the powerful. Such 
a republican spirit we perhaps fondly conceive to 
have animated the distinguished heroes and patriots 
of old, who knew no mode of policy but religion and 
virtue. Tliese they would have paramount to all con- 
stitutions ; they would not suffer monarchs, or senates, 
or popular assemblies, under pretences of dignity 



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LETTEU TO WILUAM ELUOT, ESQ. 



127 



or authority or freedom, to shake oS those moral 
riders which reason has appointed to govern every 
sort of nide power. These, iu appearance loading 
them by their weight, do by that pressure augment 
their essential force. The momentum is increased 
by the extraneous weight. It is true in moral as it 
is in mechanical science. It is true, not only in 
the draught, but in the race. These riders of the 
great, in effect, hold the reins which guide them in 
their course, and wear the spur that stimiilates them 
to the goals of honor and of safety. The great must 
submit to the dominion of prudence and of virtue, 
or none will long submit to the dominion of the 
great. Dis te minorem quod geris, imperas. Tiiis is 
the feudal tenure which they cannot alter. 

Indeed, my dear Sir, things are in a bad state. I 
do not deny a good share of diligence, a very great 
share of ability, and much public virtue to those 
who direct our affairs. But they are incuribered, 
not aided, by their very instruments, and by all the 
apparatus of the state. I think that our ministry 
(though there are things against them which neither 
you nor I can dissemble, and which grieve me to the 
heart) is by far the most honest and by far the 
wisest system of administration in Europe. Their 
fall would be no trivial calamity. 

Not meaning to depreciate the minority in Par- 
liai.ient, whose talents are also great, and to whom 
I do not deny virtues, their system seems to me to 
be fundamentally wrong. But wliether wrong or 
right, they have not enough of coherence among 
themselves, nor of estimation with the public, nor of 
numbers. They cannot make up an administration. 
Nothing is more visible. Many other things are 



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LETTER TO WILUAM ELLIOT, ESQ. 



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against them, which I do uot charge as faults, but 
reckon among national misfortunes. Extraordinary 
things must be done, or one of the parties cannot 
sta,nd as a ministry, nor the other even as an oppo- 
sition. They cannot change their situations, nor can 
any useful coalition be made between them. I do 
not see the mode of it nor the way to it. This as- 
pect of things I do not contemplate with pleasure. 
I well know that everything of the daring kiud 
which I speak of is critical : but the times are crit- 
ical. New things in a new world ! I see no hopes 
in the common tracks. If men are not to be found 
who can be got to feel within them some impulse, 
quod nequeo monstrare, et sentio tantum, and which 
makes them impatient of the present, — if none can 
be got to feel that private persons may sometimes as- 
sume that sort of magistracy which does not depend 
on the nomination of kings or the election of the 
people, but has an inherent and self-existent power 
which both would recognize, I see nothing in the 
world to hope. 

If I saw such a group beginning to cluster, such 
as they are, they should have (all tliat I can give) 
my prayers and my advice. People talk of war or 
cry for peace: have they to the bottom considered 
the questions either of war or peace, upon the scale 
of the existing world ? No, I fear they have not. 

Why should not you yourself be one of those to 
enter your name in such a list as I speak of? You 
are young ; you have great talents ; you have a clear 
head ; you have a natural, fluent, and unforced elo- 
cution ; your ideas are just, your sentiments benevo- 
lent, open, and enlarged ; — but this is too big for 
your modesty. Oh ! this modesty, in time and place, 



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LETTEB TO WILLIAM ELUOT, ESQ. 



129 



is a charming virtue, and the grace of all other vir- 
tues. But it is sometimes the worst enemy they have. 
Let him whose print I gave you the other day be en- 
graved in your memory ! Had it pleased Prondence 
to have spared him for the trying situations that 
seem to be coming on, notwithstanding that he was 
sometimes a little dispirited by the disposition which 
we thought shown to depress him and set him ^ de, 
yet he was always buoyed up again ; and on one or 
two occasions he discovered what might be expected 
from the vigor and elevation of his mind, from his 
unconquerable fortitude, and from the extent of his 
resources for every purpose of speculation and of ac- 
tion. Remember him, my friend, who in the high- 
est degree honored and respected you; and remem- 
ber that great parts are a great trust. Remember, 
too, that mistaken or misapplied virtues, if they are 
not as pernicious as vice, frustrate at least their own 
natural tendencies, and disappoint the purposes of 
the Great Giver. 
Adieu. My dreams are finished. 



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THOUGHTS AND DETAILS 

ox 

SCARCITY. 

ORIOUIAIXT rRKBKIITKD 

TO THE RIGHT HON. WILLIAM PITT. 

m THX UONIH 07 MOVKUBBS. 

1795- 



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SCARCITY. 



OP all things, an indiscreet tampering with the 
trade of provisions is the most dangerous, and 

is always worst in the time when men are most 
disposed to it, — that is, in the time of scarcity ; be- 
cause there is nothing on which the passions of men 
are so dolent, and their judgment so weak, and on 
which there exists such a multitude of iU-foimded 
popular prejudices. 

The great use of government is as a restraint ; and 
there is no restraint which it ought to put upon oth- 
ers, and upon itself too, rather than that which is 
imposed on the fury of speculating under circum- 
stances of irritation. The number of idle tales f pread 
about by the uidustry of faction and by the zeal of 
foolish good-intention, and greedily devoured by the 
malignant credulity of mankind, tends iiiiinitely to 
aggravate prejudices which in themselves are more 
than sufficiently strong. In that state of affairs, and 
of the public with relation to them, the first thing 
that government owes to us, the people, is informa- 
tion; the next is timely coercion: the one to guide 
our judgment ; the other to regulate our tempers. 

To provide for us in our necessities is not in the 
power of government. It would be a vain presump- 



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134 THOUGHTS AND DETAttfl ON BCAr- T7. 

tion in statesmen to think they can do it. The 'm;o. 
plo maintain them, and not they the people. It ii 
in the power of government to prevent much evil ; 
it can do very little positive good in this, or perhaps 
in anything else. It is not only so of the state and 
statesman, bnt of all the classes and descriptions of 
the rich: they are the pensioners of the poor, and 
are maintained by tlieir superfluity. They are under 
an absolute, hereditary, and indefeasible dependence 
on those who labor and are miscalled the poor. 

The laboring people are only poor because they are 
numerous. Numbers in their nature imply poverty. 
In a fair distribution among a vast multitude none 
can have much. That class of dependent pensioners 
called the rich is so extremely small, that, if all their 
throats were cut, and p distribution made of all they 
consume in a year, it would not give a bit of bread 
and cheese for one night's supper to those who labor, 
and who in reality feed both the pensioners and them- 
selves. 

But the throats of the rich ought not to be cut, 
nor their magazines plundered ; because, in their per- 
sons, they are trustees for those who labor, and their 
hoards are the banking-houses of these latter. Wheth- 
er they mean it or not, they do, in effect, execute 
their trust, — some with more, some with less fidelity 
and judgment. But, on the whole, tlio duty is j)er- 
formed, and everything returns, deducting son- very 
trifling commission and discount, to the place liom 
whence it arose. When the poor rise to destroy the 
rich, they act as wisely for their own purpos. as 
when they burn mills and throw corn into the river 
to make bread cheap. 
When I say that we of the people ought to be in- 



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THOUGHTS AND DETAILS ON SCABCITT. 



135 



formed, inclusively I say we ought not to be flat- 
tered : flattery is the reverse of instrui tion. The poor 
in that case would bo rendered as improvident as the 
rich, which would not be at all good ft - them. 

Nothing can be so base ; id so wicked as the pi>liti- 
cal canting language, " tin.' laboring pot"-." Let com- 
passion 1>e shown in action, — the morw, tlr'^ better, 
— according to every man's ability ; but lot there be 
no lamentation of their condition. It is U" relief to 
their miserable circumstances : it is only an insult to 
their miserable understanding . It ari "s from a to- 
tal want of charity or a total want of tluuicbt. W:int 
of one kind wns never relieved by want of any other 
kind. Patieii ;e, labor, sobriety, frufrality, and n !ig- 
ion shrt'ild be recommended to them; all the re-' is 
downright /raM*^? It is horrible to call them " i.ie 
once Ti'j'py labor-r." 

Wi\<ther what may be called the moral or philosoph- 
ical happiness of tho laborious classes is increased 
or not, I cannot say. The seat of that s] cies of nap- 
piness is in the mind ; and there are f"w data to as- 
certain the comparative state of the mim, at any two 
pcriodt^. Philof^ophical happiness !<- io "^ant little. 
Civil or vulgar liappiness is to want much and to 
enjoy much. 

If th.' hajjpin^s'? of the anima^ ^an (which '^'^r- 
tai ily p ?s bon. Aiere towards t e happiness of le 
rational aian) bo the object of our estimate, then I 
assert, ^ ithou*^ the least hcsitatio ., that the -'ondi- 
tion of aiose ho labor (^in all des<:riptions of labor, 
and in al- or idations of labor, from tl.o highest to 
the lowe>i iclusivcly) is, on the whole, extremely 
meliorated, i'* more and better food is any -tandard 









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they have the advantage of their augmented labor : 
yet whether that increase of labor be on the whole 
a good or an evil is a consideration that would lead 
us a great way, and is not for my present purpose. 
But as to the fact of the melioration of their diet, I 
shall enter into the detail of proof, whenever I am 
called upon : in the mean time, the known difficulty 
of contenting them with anything but bread made of 
the finest flour and meat of the first quality is proof 
sufficient. 

I further assert, that, even under all the hardships 
of the last year, the laboring people did, either out 
of their direct gains, or from charity, (which it seems 
is now an insult to them,) in fact, fare better than 
they did in seasons of common plenty, fifty or sixty 
years ago, — or even at the period of my English ob- 
servation, which is about forty-four years. I even 
assert that full as many in that class as ever were 
known to do it before continued to save money ; and 
this I can prove, so far as my own infirmation and 
experience extend. 

It is not true that the rate of wages has not in- 
creased with the nominal price of provisions. I allow, 
it has not fluctuated with that price, — nor ought it ; 
and the squires of Norfolk had dined, when they gave 
it as their opinion that it might or ought to rise and 
fall with the market of provisions. The rate of wages, 
in truth, has no direct relation to that price. Labor 
is a commodity like every other, and rises or falls 
according to the demand. This is in the nature of 
things ; however, the nature of things has provided 
for their necessities. "Wages have been twice raised 
in my time ; and they bear a full proportion, or even 
a greater than formerly, to the medium of provision 



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during the last bad cycle of twenty years. They bear 
a full proportion to the result of their labor. If we 
were wildly to attempt to force them beyond it, the 
stone which we had forced up the hill would only fall 
back upon them in a diminished demand, or, what 
indeed is the far lesser evil, an aggravated price of all 
the provisions which are the result of tlieir manual 
toil. 

There is an implied contract, much stronger than 
any instrument or article of agreement between the 
laborer in any occupation and his employer, — that the 
labor, so far as that labor is concerned, shall be suffi- 
cient to pay to the employer a profit on his capital 
and a compensation for his risk : in a word, that the 
labor shall produce an advantage equal to the pay- 
ment. Whatever is above that is a direct tax; and 
if the amount of that tax be left to the will and pleas- 
ure of another, it is an arbitrary tax. 

If I understand it rightly, the tax proposed on the 
farming interest of this kingdom is to be levied at 
what is called the discretion of justices of peace. 

The questions arising on this scheme of arbitrary 
taxation are these: Whether it is better to leave all 
dealing, in which there is no force or fraud, collusion 
or combination, entirely to the persons mutually con- 
cerned in the matter contracted for, — or to put the 
contract into the hands of those who can have none 
or a very remote interest in it, and little or no knowl- 
edge of the subject. 

It might be imagined that there would be very lit- 
tle difficulty in solving this question : for what man, 
of any degree of reflection, can think that a want of 
interest in any subject, closely connected with a want 
of skill in it, qualifies a person to intermeddle in any 



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the least aflfair, — much less in affairs that vitally con- 
cern the agriculture of the kingdom, the first of all 
its concerns, and the foundation of all its prosperity 
in every other matter by which that prosperity is 
produced ? 

The vulgar error on this subject arises from a total 
confusion in the very idea of things widely different 
in themselves, — those of convention, and those of 
judicature. When a contract is making, it is a mat- 
ter of discretion and of interest between the parties. 
In that intercourse, and in what is to arise from it, 
the parties are the masters. If they are not com- 
pletely so, they are not free, and the -efore theii con- 
tracts are void. 

But this freedom has no farther extent, when the 
contract is made: then their discretionary powers 
expire, and a new order of things takes its origin. 
Then, and not till then, and on a difference between 
the parties, the office of the judge commences. He 
cannot dictate the contract. It is his business to see 
that it be enforced, — provided that it is not contrary 
to preexisting laws, or obtained by force or fraud. 
If he is in any way a maker or regulator of the con- 
tract, in so much he is disqualified from being a 
judge. But this sort of confused distribution of ad- 
ministrative and judicial characters (of which we 
have already as mucli as is sufficient, and a little 
more) is not the only perplexity of notions and pas- 
sions which trouble us in the present hour. 

What is doing supposes, or pretends, that the 
farmer and the laborer have opposite interests, — *hat 
the farmer oppresses the laborer, — and that a gentle- 
man, called a justice of peace, is the protector of the 
latter, and a control and restraint on the former ; 



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and this is a point I wish to examine in a manner 
a good deal different from that in which gentlemen 
proceed, who confide more in their abilities than is 
fit, and suppose them capable of more than any nat- 
ural abilities, fed with no other than the provender 
furnished by their own private speculations, can ac- 
complish. Legislative acts attempting to regulate 
this part of economy do, at least as much as any 
other, require the exactest detail of circumstances, 
guided by the surest general principles that are ne- 
cessary to direct experiment and inquiry, in order 
again from those details to elicit principles, firm and 
luminous general principles, to direct a practical le- 
gislative proceeding. 

First, then, I deny that it is in this case, as in any 
other, of necessary implication that contracting par- 
tics should originally have had different interests. 
By accident it may be so, undoubtedly, at the outset : 
but then the contract is of the nature of a compro- 
mise ; and compromise is founded on circumstances 
that suppose it the interest of the parties to be rec- 
onciled in some medium. The principle of com- 
promise adopted, of consequence the interests cease 
to be different. 

But in the case of the farmer and the laborer, 
their interests are always the same, and it is abso- 
lutely impossible that their free contracts can be 
onerous to either party. It is tlio interest of the 
farmer that his work should be done with effect and 
celerity; and that cannot be, unless the laborer is 
well fed, and otherwise found with such necessaries 
of animal life, according to its habitudes, as may 
keep the body in full force, and the mind gay and 
cheerful. For of all the instruments of his trade, 



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the labor of man (what the ancient writers have 
called the inatrumentum vocale) is that on which he 
is most to rely for the repayment of his capital. 
The other two, the temivocdle in the ancient classi- 
fication, that is, the working stock of cattle, and the 
itutrumerUum mutum, such as carts, ploughs, spades, 
and so forth, though not all inconsiderable in them- 
selves, are very much inferior in utility or in ex- 
pense, and, without a given portion of the first, are 
nothing at all. For, in all things whatever, the mind 
is the most valuable and the m'^st important ; and 
in this scale the whole of agriculture is in a natural 
and just order : the beast is as an informing princi- 
ple to the plough and cart ; the laborer is as reason 
to the beast; and the farmer is as a thinking and 
presiding principle to the laborer. An attempt to 
break this chain of subordination in any part is 
equally absurd ; but the absurdity is the most mis- 
chievous, in practical operation, where it is the most 
easy, — that is, where it is the most subject to an er- 
roneous judgment. 

It is plainly more the farmer's interest that his 
men should thrive than that his horses should be 
well fed, sleek, plump, and fit for use, or than that 
his wagon and ploughs should be strong, in good 
repair, and fit for service. 

On the other hand, if the farmer ceases to profit 
of the laborer, and that his capital is not continual- 
ly manured and fructified, it is impossible that he 
should continue that abundant nutriment and cloth- 
ing and lodging proper for the protection of the in- 
struments he employs. 

It is therefore the first and fundamental interest of 
the laborer, that the farmer should have a full incom- 



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ing profit on the product of his labor. The proposi- 
tion is self evident ; and nothing but the malignity, 
perverseness, and ill-governed passions of mankind, 
and particularly the envy they bear to each other's 
prosperity, could prevent their seeing and acknowl 
edging it, with thankfulness to the benign and wise 
Disposer of all things, who obliges men, whether they 
will or not, in pursuing their own selfish intej-ests, 
to connect the general good with their own individ- 
ual success. 

But who are to judge what that profit and advan- 
tage ought to be? Certainly no authority on earth. 
It is a matter of convention, dictated by the recipro- 
cal conveniences of the parties, and indeed by their 
reciprocal necessities. — But if the farmer is exces- 
sively avaricious ? — Why, so much the better : the 
more he desires to increase his gains, the more in- 
terested is he in the good condition of those upon 
whose labor his gains must principally depend. 

I shall be told by the zealots of the sect of regu- 
lation, that this may be true, and may be safely 
committed to the convention of the farmer and the 
laborer, when the latter is in the prime of his youth, 
and at the time of his health and vigor, and in ordi- 
nary times of abundance. But in calamitous seasons, 
under accidental illness, in declining life, and with 
the pressure of a numerous offspring, the future 
nourishers of the community, but the present drains 
and blood-suckers of those who produce them, what 
is to be done ? When a man cannot live and main- 
tain his family by the natural hire of his labor, ought 
it not to be raised by authority ? 

On this head I must be allowed to submit what 
my opinions have ever been, and somewhat at large. 



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And, first, I premise that labor is, as I have already 
intimated, a commodity, and, as such, an article of 
trade. If I am right in this notion, then labor must 
be subject to all the laws and principles of trade, and 
not to regulations fbreign to them, and that may be 
totally inconsistent with those principles and those 
laws. When any commodity is carried to market, 
it is not the necessity of the vendor, but the necessity 
of the purchaser, that raises the price. The extreme 
want of the seller has rather (by the nature of things 
with which we shall ui vain contend) the direct con- 
trary operation. If the goods at market are beyond 
the demand, they fall in their value; if below it, 
they rise. The impossibility of the subsistence of 
a man who carries his labor to a market is totally 
beside the question, in this way of viewing it. The 
only question is. What is it worth to the buyer ? 

But if authority comes in and forces the buyer to a 
price, what is this in the case (say) of a farmer who 
buys the labor of ten or twelve laboring men, and 
three or four handicrafts, — what is it but to make 
an arbitrary dinsion of his property among them ? 

The whole of his gains (I say it with the most 
certain conviction) never do amount anythmg like m 
value to what lie pays to his laborers and artificers ; 
so that a very small advance upon what one man pays 
to many may absorb the whole of what he possesses, 
and amount to an actual partition of all his substance 
among tl^em. A perfect equality will, indeed, be pro- 
duced, — that is to say, equal want, equal wretched- 
ness, equal beggary, and, on the part of the partition- 
ers, a woful, helpless, and desperate disappointment. 
Such is the event of all compulsory equalizations. 
They pull down what is above; they never raise 



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what is below; and they depress high and low to- 
gether beneath the level of what was originally the 
lowest. 

If a commodity is raised by authority above what 
it will yield with a profit to the buyer, that commod- 
ity will be the less dealt in. If a second blundering 
interposition be used to correct the blunder of the 
first and an attempt is made to force the purchase 
of the commodity, (of labor, for instance,) the one of 
these two things must happen : either that the forced 
buyer is ruined, or the price of the product of the 
labor in that proportion is raised. Then the wheel 
turns round, and the evil complained of falls with 
aggiavated weight on the complainant. The price 
of corn, which is the result of the expense of all the 
operations of husbandry taken together, and for some 
time continued, will rise on the laborer, considered 
as a consumer. The very best will be, that he re- 
mains where he was. But if the price of the corn 
should not compensate the price of labor, what is far 
more to be feared, the most serious evil, the very de- 
struction of agriculture itself, is to be apprehended. 

Nothing is such an enemy to accuracy of judg- 
ment as a coarse discrimination, a want of such clas- 
sification and distribution as the subject admits of. 
Increase the rate of wages to the laborer, say the 
regulators, — as if labor was but one thing, and of 
one value. But this very broad, generic term, labor, 
admits, at least, of two or three specific descriptions : 
and these will suffice, at least, to let gentlemen dis- 
cern a little the necessity of proceeding with caution 
in their coercive guidance of those whose existence 
depends upon the observance of still nicer distinc- 
tions and subdivisions than commonly they resort 



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to in forming their judgments on tliis very enlarged 
part of economy. 
The laborers in husbandry may be divided, — 
First, Into those who are able to perform the full 
work of a man, — that is, what can be done by a per- 
son from twenty-one years of age to fifty. I know no 
husbandry work (mowing hardly excepted) that is not 
equally within the power of all persons within those 
ages, the more advanced fully compensating by knack 
and habit what they lose in activity. Unquestiona- 
bly, there is a good deal of difference between the 
value of one man's labor and that of another, from 
strength, dexterity, and honest application. But I 
am quite sure, from my best observation, that any 
given five men will, in their total, afford a propor- 
tion of labor equal to any other five within the peri- 
ods of life I have stated : that is, that among such 
five men there will be one possessing all the qualifi- 
cations of a good workman, one bad, and the other 
three middling, and approximating to the first and 
the last. So that, in so small a platoon as that of 
even five, you will find the full complement of all that 
five men can earn. Taking five and five throughout 
the kingdom, they are equal : therefore .a error with 
regard to the equalization of their wages by those who 
employ five, as farmers do at the very least, cannot be 
considerable. 

Secondly, Those who are able to work, but not 
the complete task of a day-laborer. This class is 
infinitely diversified, but will aptly enough fall into 
principal divisions. Men, from the decline, which 
after fifty becomes every year more sensible, to the 
period of debility and decrepitude, and the maladies 
that precede a final dissolution. Women, whose em- 



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plojment on husbandry is but occasional, and who 
differ more in effective labor one from another than 
men do, on account of gestation, nursing, and do- 
mestic management, over and aLove the difference 
they hare in common with men in advancing, in 
stationary, and in declining life. Children, who 
proceed on the reverse order, growing from less to 
greater utility, but with a still greater disproportion 
of nutriment to labor than is found in the second of 
these subdivisions : as is visible to those who will give 
themselves the trouble of examining into the interior 
economy of a poor-house. 

This inferior classification is introduced to show 
that laws prescribing or magistrates exercising a 
very stiff and often inapplicable rule, or a blind and 
rash discretion, never can provide the just propor- 
tions between earning and salary, on the one hand, 
and nutriment on the other : whevcas interest, habit, 
and the tacit convention that arise from a thousand 
nameless circumstances produce a tact that regulates 
without diflSculty what laws ond magistrates cannot 
reg'.i . ^ at all. The first class of labor wants noth- 
ing to ''qualize it; it equalizes itself. The second 
and third are not capable of any equalization. 

But what if the rate of hire to the laborer comes 
far shoit of his necessary subsistence, and the calam- 
ity of the time is so great as to threaten actual fam- 
ine? Is the poor laborer to be abandoned to the 
flinty heart and griping hand of base self-interest, 
supported by the sword of law, especially when there 
is reason to suppose that the very avarice of farmers 
themselves has concurred with the errors of govern- 
ment to bring famine c i the land ? 

In that case, my opinion is this : Whenever it hap- 

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pens that a man can claim nothing according to the 
rules of commerce and the principles of justice, he 
passes out of that department, and comes within the 
jurisdiction of mercy. In that province the magis- 
trate has nothing at all to do ; his interference is a 
violation of the property which it is his ofBce to pro- 
tect. Without all doubt, charity to the poor is a di- 
rect and obligatory duty upon all Christians, next in 
order after the payment of debts, full as strong, and 
by Nature made infinitely more delightful to us. 
Pufendorf, and other casuists, do not, I think, denom- 
inate it quite properly, when they call it a duty of 
imperfect obligation. But the manner, mode, time, 
choice of objects, and proportion are left to private 
discretion; and perhaps for that very reason it is 
performed with the greater satisfaction, because the 
discharge of it has more the appearance of freedom, — 
recommending us besides very specially to the Divine 
favor, as the exercise of a virtue most suitable to a 
being sensible of its own infirmity. 

The cry of the people in cities and towns, though 
unfortunately (from a fear of their multitude and 
combination) the most regarded, ought, iwfad, to be 
the least attended to, upon this subject : for citizens 
are in a state of utter ignorance of tlie means by 
which they are to be fed, and tlioy contribute little or 
nothing, except in an indiiitely circuitous manner, to 
their own maintenance. They are truly fru ;es con- 
sumere nati. They are to be heard with great re- 
spect and attention upon matters within their prov- 
ince, — that is, on trades and manufactures; but on 
anything that relafes to agriculture they are to be lis- 
tened to with the same reverence which we pay to the 
dogmas of other ignorant and presumptuous men. 



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If any one were to tell them that they were to give 
in an account of all the stock in their shops, — that 
attempts would be made to limit their profit^*, or raise 
the price of the laboring manufacturers u >n them, 
or recommend to government, out of a capital from 
the public revenues, to set up a shop of the same 
commodities, in order to rival them, and keep them 
to reasonable dealing, — tlioy would very soon see 
the impudence, injustice, and oppression of such a 
course. They would not be mistaken : but tliey are 
of opinion that agriculture is to be subject to other 
laws, and to be governed by otlier principles. 

A greater and more ruinous mistake cannot be 
fallen into than that the trades of agriculture and 
grazing can be conducted upon any otlior than the 
common principles of commerce : namely, that the 
producer should be permitted, and even expected, ti> 
look to all possible profit which without fraud or 
violence he can make ; to turn plenty or scarcity to 
the best advantage he can ; to keep back or to bring 
forward his commodities at his pleasure ; to account 
to no one for his stock or for his gain. On any other 
terms he is the slave of the consumer : and that he 
should be so is of no benefit to the consumer. No 
slave was ever so beneficial to the master as a free- 
man that deals with him on an equal footing by 
convention, formed on the rules and principles of 
contending interests and compromised advantages. 
The consumer, if he were suffered, would in the end 
always be the dupe of his own tyranny and injustice. 
The landed gentleman is never to forget that the 
farmer is his representative. 

It is a perilous thing to try experiments on the 
farmer. The farmer's capital (except in a few per- 



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aoQB and in a very few places) is far more feeble than 
commonly is imagined. The trade is a very poor 
trade; it is subject to great risks and losses. The 
capital, such as it is, is turned but once in the year ; 
in some branches it requires three years before the 
money is paid : I believe never less than three in the 
turnip and grass-land course, which is the prevalent 
course on the more or less fertile sandy and gravelly 
loams, — and these compose the soil in the south and 
southeast of England, the best adapted, and perhaps 
the only ones that are adapted, to the turnip hus- 
bandry. 

It is very rare that the most prosperous farmer, 
counting the value of his quick and dead stock, the 
interest of the money he turns, together with his own 
wages as a bailiflF or overseer, ever does make twelve 
or fifteen per centum by the year on his capital. I 
speak of the prosperous. In most of the parts of 
England which have fallen within my observation I 
have rarely known a farmer, who to his own trade 
has not added some other employment or traffic, that, 
after a course of the most unremitting parsimony and 
labor, (such for the greater part is theirs,) and per- 
severing in his business for a long course of years, 
died worth more than paid his debts, leaving his pos- 
terity to continue in nearly the same equal conflict 
between mdustry and want, in which the last prede- 
cessor, and a long line of predecessors before him, 
lived and died. 

Observe that I speak of the generality of farmers, 
who have not more than from one hundred and fifty 
to three or four hundred acres. There are few in 
this part of the country within the former or much 
beyond the latter extent. Unquestionably in other 



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places there are much larger. But I am coimnced, 
whatever part of England bo the theatre of his opera- 
tions, a farmer who cultivates twelve hundrei acres, 
which I consider as a larg« farm, though I know there 
are larger, cannot proceed with any degree of safefy 
and effect with a smaller cajutal than ten thour^and 
pounds, and tliat he cannot, in the ordin irj course 
of culture, make more upon tl> it great capital of ten 
thousand pounds than twelve hundred a year. 

As to the weaker capital.'- an easy judgment ni:iy 
be formed by what very smal, errors they may be 
farther attenuated, enervated, rendered unproductive, 
and perhaps totally destroyed. 

This constant precariousness and ultimate mod- 
erate limits of a farmer's fortune, on the strongest 
capital, I press, not only on account of the hazard- 
ous speculations of the times, but because the excel- 
lent and most useful works of my friend, Mr. Arthur 
Young, tend to propagate that error (such I am very 
certain it is) of the largeness of a farmer's profits. 
It is not that his account of the produce does often 
greatly exceed, but he by no means makes the projier 
allowance for accidents and lossc-. I might enter 
into a convincing detail, if other more troublesome 
and more necessary details were not bef' to me. 

This proposed discretionary tax on labor militates 
with the recommendations of the Board of Agricul- 
ture : they recommend a general use of the drill cul- 
ture. I agree with the Board, that, where the soil 
is not excessively heavy, or incumbered with largo 
loose stones, (which, however, is the case with much 
otherwise good land,) that course is the best and 
most productive, — provided that the most accurate 
eye, tlie most vigilant superintendence, the most 



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prompt activity, which has no such day as to-mor- 
row in its calendar, the most steady foresight and 
predisposing order to have everybody and every- 
thing ready in its place, and prepared to take advan- 
tage of the fortunate, fugitive moment, in this co- 
quetting climate of ours, — provided, I say, all these 
combine to speed the plough, I admit its superior- 
ity over the old and general methods. But under 
procrastinating, improvident, ordinary husbandmen, 
who may neglect or let slip the few opportunities 
of sweetening and purifying their ground with per- 
petually renovated toil and undissipated attention, 
nothing, when tried to any extent, can be worse or 
more dangerous: the farm may be ruined, instead 
of having the soil enriched and sweetened by it. 

But the excellence of the method on a proper soil, 
and conducted by husbandmen, of whom there are 
few, being readily granted, how, and on what condi- 
tions, is this culture obtained? Why, by a very 
great increase of labor : by an augmentation of the 
third part, at least, of the hand-labor, to say nothing 
of the horses and machinery employed in ordinary 
tillage. Now every man must be sensible how little 
becoming the gravity of legislature it is to encourage 
a board which recommends to us, and upon very 
weighty reasons unquestionably, an enlargement of 
the capital we employ in the operations of tlie hand, 
and tlien to pass an act which taxes that manual 
labor, already at a very high rate, — thus compelling 
us to diminish the quantity of labor which in the 
vulgar course we actually employ. 

What is true of tlie farmer is equally true of the 
middle-man, — whether the middle-man acts as fac- 
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of grain. These traders are to be left to their free 
course ; and the more they make, and the richer 
they are, and the more largely they deal, the better 
both for the farmer and consumer, between whom 
they form a natural and most \iseful link of connec- 
tion, — though by the machinations of the old evil 
counsellor, Envy, they are hated and maligned by 
both parties. 

I hear that middle-men are accused of monopoly. 
Without question, the monopoly of authority is, in 
every instance and in every degree, an evil ; but the 
monopoly of capital is the contrary. It is a great 
benefit, and a benefit particularly to the poor. A 
tradesman who has but a hundred pound capital, 
which (say) he can turn but once a year, cannot live 
upon a profit of ten per cent, because he cannot live 
upon ten pounds a year; but a man of ten thou- 
sand pounds capital can live and thrive upon five per 
cent profit in the year, because he has five hundred 
pounds a year. The same proportion holds in turn- 
ing it twice or thrice. Tliese principles are plain 
and simple ; and it is not our ignorance, so much 
as the levity, the envy, and the malignity of our 
nature, that hinders us from perceiving and yiell- 
ing to them : but we are not to sufier our vices to 
usurp the place of our judgment. 

The balance between consumption and production 
makes price. The market settles, and alone can 
settle, that price. Market is the meeting and con- 
ference of the consumer and producer, when they 
mutually discover each otlier's wants. Nobody, I 
believe, has observed with any reflection what mar- 
ket is, without being astonished at the truth, the cor- 
rectness, the celerity, the general equity, with wl)ich 






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the balance of wants is settled. They who wish the 
destruction of that balance, and would fain hj ar- 
bitrary regulation decree that defective production 
should not be compensated by increased price, di- 
rectly lay their axe to the root of production itself. 
They mav, even in one year of such false policy, do 
mischiefs incalculable ; because the trade of a farmer 
is, as I have before explauied, one of the most pre- 
carious in its advantages, the most liable to losses, 
and the least profitable of any that is carried on. 
It requires ten times more of labor, of vigilance, of 
attention, of skill, and, let mo add, of good fortune 
also, to carry on the business of a farmer with suc- 
cess, than what belongs to any other trade. 

Seeing things in this light, I am far from presum- 
ing to censure the late circular instruction of Council 
to lord-lieutenants, but I confess I do not clearly dis- 
cern its object. I am greatly afraid that the inquiry 
will raise some alarm, as a measure leading to the 
French system of putting corn into requisition. For 
that was preceded by an inquisition somewhat simUar 
in its principle, though, according to their mode, their 
principles arc full of that violence which here is not 
mucli tr. be feared. It goes on a principle directly 
opposite to mine: it presumes that the market is no 
fair test of plenty or scarcity. It raises a suspicion, 
which may affect the tranquillity of the public mind, 
" that the farmer keeps back, and takes unfair advan' 
tages by delay " ; on the part of the dealer, it gives 
rise obviously to a thousand nefarious speculations. 

In case the retui liould on the whole prove fa- 
vorable, is it meant tu ground a measure for encour- 
aging exportation and checking the import of corn ? 
If it is not, what end can it answer ? And I believe 
it is not. 



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Tins opinion may be fortified by a report gone 
abroad, that intentions are entertained of erecting 
pT'blic granaries, and that this inquiry is to give 
government an advantage in its purchases. 

I hear that such a measure has been proposed, and 
is under deliberation: tl it is, for government to set 
up a granary in every market-town, at the expense 
of the state, in order to extinguish the dealer, and 
to subject the farmer to the consumer, by securing 
com to the latter at a certain and steady price. 

If such a scheme is adopted, I should not like to 
answer for the safety of the granary, of the agents, 
or of the town itself in which the granary was erect- 
ed : the first storm of popular frenzy would fall upon 
that granary. 

So far in a political light. 

In an economical light, I must observe that the 
construction of such granaries throughout the king- 
dom would be at an expense beyond all calculation. 
The keeping them up would be at a great charge. 
The management and attendance would require an 
army of agents, store-keepers, clerks, and servants. 
The capital to be employed in the purchase of grain 
would be enormous. The waste, decay, and corrup- 
tion would be a dreadful drawback on the whole 
dealing ; and the dissatisfaction of the people, at hav- 
ing decayed, tainted, or corrupted corn sold to them, 
as must be the case, would be serious. 

This climate (whatever others may be) is not fa- 
vorable to granaries, where wheat is to be kept for 
any time. The best, and indeed the only good gran- 
ary, is the rick-yard of the farmer, whore the corn is 
preserved in its own straw, sweet, clean, wholosome, 
free from vermin and fr jm insects, and comparatively 



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at a trifle of expense. This, and the barn, enjoying 
many of the same advantages, have been the sole 
granaries of England from the foundation of its agri- 
culture to this day. All this is done at the expense 
of tlie undertaker, and at his sole risk. He contrib- 
utes to government, he receives nothing from it but 
protection, and to this he has a claim. 

The moment that government appears at market, 
all the principles of market will bo subverted. I 
don't know whether the farmer will suffer by it, 
as long as there is a tolerable market of competi- 
tion ; but I am sure, that, in the first place, the trad- 
ing government will speedily become a bankrupt, and 
the consumer in the end will suffer. If government 
makes all its purchases at once, it will instantly raise 
the market upon itself. If it makes them by degrees, 
it must follow the course of the market. If it follows 
the course of the market, it will produce no effect, 
and the consumer may as well buy as he wants; 
therefore all the expense is incurred gratis. 

But if the object of this scheu^ should be, what I 
suspect it is, to destroy the dealer, commonly called 
the middle-man, and by incurring a voluntary loss 
to carry the baker to deal with government, I am to 
tell them that they must set up another trade, that 
of a miller or a meal-man, attended with a new train 
of expenses and risks. If in both these trades thoy 
should succeed, so as to exclude those who trade on 
natural and private capitals, then they will have a 
monopoly in their hands, which, under the appear- 
ance of a monopoly of capital, will, in reality, be a 
monopoly of authority, and will ruin wliatevor it 
touches. The agriculture of tl\e kingdom cannot 
stand before it. 



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A little place like Geneva, of not more than from 
twenty-five to thirty thousand inhabitants, — which 
lias no territory, or next to none, — which depends 
for its existence on the good-will of three neighbor- 
ing powers, and is of course continually in the state 
of something like a siege, or in the speculation of it, 
— might find some resource in state granaries, and 
some revenue from the monopoly of what was sold to 
the keepers of public-houses. This is a policy for a 
state too small for agriculture. It is not (for in- 
stance) fit for so great a country as the Pope pos- 
sesses, — where, however, it is adopted and pursued 
in a greater extent, and with more strictness. Cer- 
tain of the Pope's territories, from whence the city of 
Rome is supplied, being obliged to furnish Rome and 
the granaries of his Holiness with corn at a certain 
price, that part of the Papal territories is utterly ru- 
ined. That ruin may be traced with certainty to this 
sole cause ; and it appears indubitably by a compari- 
son of their state and condition with that of the other 
part of the ecclesiastical dominions, not subjected to 
the same regulations, which are in circumstances 
highly flourishing. 

The reformation of this evil system is in a manner 
impracticable. For, first, it does keep bread and all 
other provisions equally subject to the chamber of 
supply, at a pretty reasonable and regular price, in 
the city of Rome. This preserves quiet among the 
numerous poor, idle, and naturally mutinous people 
of a very great capital. But the quiet of the town is 
purchased by the ruin of the country and the ulti- 
mate wretchedness of both. The next cause which 
renders this evil incurable is the jobs which have 
grown out of it, and which, in spite of all precautions, 



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would grow out of such things even under govern- 
ments far more potent than the feeble authority of 
the Pope. 

This example of Rome, which has been derived 
from the most ancient times, and the most flourishing 
period of the Roman Empire, (but not of the Roman 
agriculture,) may serve as a great caution to all gov. 
ernments not to attempt to feed the people out of 
the hands of the magistrates. If once they are ha- 
bituated to it, though but for one half-year, they will 
never be satisfied to have it otherwise. And having 
looked to government for bread, on the very first 
scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed 
ttem. To avoid that evil, government wil' redouble 
the causes of it; and then it wiU become inveterate 
and incurable. 

I beseech the government (which I take in the lai^ 
gest sense of the word, comprehending the two Hous- 
es of Parliament) seriously to consider that years of 
scarcity or plenty do not come alternately or at short 
mtervals, but in pretty long cycles and irregulariy 
and consequently tliat we cannot assure ourselves, if 
we take a wrong measure, from the temporary neces- 
sities of one season, but that the next, and probably 
more, will drive us to the continuance of it; so that 
m my opinion, there is no way of preventing this evil' 
which goes to the destruction of all our agriculture 
and of that part of our internal commerce which 
touches our agriculture the most nearly, as well as 
the safety and very being of government, but man- 
fully to resist the very first idea, speculative or prac- 
tical, that it is within the competence of government 
taken as government, or even of the rich, as rich, to 
supply to the poor those necessaries wliich it has 



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pleased the Divine Providence for a while to with- 
hold from them. We, the people, ought to be made 
sensible that it is not in breaking the laws of com- 
merce, which are the laws of Nature, and conse- 
quently the laws of God, that we are to place our 
hope of softening the Divine displeasure to remove 
any calamity under which we suffer or which hangs 
over us. 

So far as to the principles of general policy. 

As to the state of things which is urged as a rea- 
son to deviate from them, these are the circumstances 
of the harvest of 1794 and 1795. With regard to 
the harvest of 1794, in relation to the noblest grain, 
wheat, it is allowed to have been somewhat short, but 
not excessively, — and in quality, for the seven-and- 
twenty years during which I have been a farmer, 1 
never remember wheat to have been so good. The 
world were, however, deceived in their speculations 
upon it, — the farmer as well as the dealer. Accord- 
ingly the price fluctuated beyond anytliing I can re- 
member : for at one time of the year I sold my 
wheat at 14Z. a load, (I sold off all I had, as I 
thought this was a reasonable price,) wlien at the 
end of the season, if I had then had any to sell, I 
might have got thirty guineas for the same sort of 
grain. I sold all that I had, as I said, at a compara- 
tively low price, because I thought it a good price, 
compared with what I tliought the general produce of 
the harvest ; but when I came to consider what my 
own total was, I found that the quantity had not an- 
swered my expectation. It must bo remembered that 
tliis year of produce, (the year 1794,) short, but excel- 
lent, followed a year which was not extraordinary in 
production, nor of a superior quality, and left but lit- 



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tie in store. At first, this was not felt, because the 
harvest came in unusually early, — earlier than com- 
mon by a full month. 

The winter, at the end of 1794 and beginning of 
1795, was more than usually unfavorable both to 
com and gras?, owing to the sudden relaxation of 
very rigorous frosts, followed by rains, which were 
again rapidly succeeded by frosts of still greater rig 
or than the first. 

Much wheat was utterly destroyed. The clover- 
grass suffered in many places. What I never ob- 
served before, the rye-grass, or coarse bent, suffered 
more than the clover. Even the meadow-grass in 
some places was killed to the very roots. In the 
spring appearances were better than we expected. 
All the early sown grain recovered itself, and came 
up with great vigor ; but that which was late sown 
was feeble, and did not promise to resist any blights 
in the spring, which, however, with all its unpleasant 
vicissitudes, passed off very well ; and nothing looked 
better than the wheat at the time of blooming ; — but 
at that most critical time of all, a cold, dry cast wind, 
attended with very sharp frosts, longer and stronger 
than I recollect at that time of year, destroyed the 
flowcFF, and withcicd up, in an astonishing manner, 
the wliole side of the c;'r next to the wind. At that 
time I brought to lown some of the eurs, for the pur- 
pose of showing to my friends the operation of those 
unnatural frosts, and according to tlieir extent I pre- 
dicted a great scarcity. But such is tlio pleasure of 
agreeable prospects, that my opinion was little re- 
garded 

On threshing, I found t:iings aa I expected, — thf> 
ears not filled., some of the capsules quite empty, and 



THOUGHTS AND DETAIUS ON SCABCITT. 



159 




several others containing only withered, hungry grain, 
inferior to the appearance of rye. My best ears and 
grain were not fine ; never had I grain of so low a 
quality: yet I sold one load for 211. At the same 
time I bought my seed wheat (it was excellent) at 
23Z. Since then the price has risen, and I have sold 
about two load of the same sort at 23^ Such was 
the state of the market when I left home last Monday. 
Little remains in my bam. I hope some in the rick 
may be better, since it was earlier sown, as well as I 
can recollect. Some of my neighbors have better, 
some quite as bad, or even worse. I suspect it will 
be found, that, wherever the blighting wind and those 
frosts at blooming-time have prevailed, the produce 
of the wheat crop will turn out very indifferent. 
Those parts which have escaped will, I can hardly 
doubt, l*.^ve a reasonable produce. 

Ai to ti" ^ other grains, it is to be observed, as the 
wheat ripened very late, (on account, I conceive, of 
the blights,) the barley got the start of it, and was 
ripe first. The crop was with me, and wherever my 
inquiry coxild reach, excellent; in some places far 
superior to mine. 

Tlie clover, which came up with the barley, was 
the finest I rememtier to have seen. 

The turnips of this year are generally good. 

The clover sown last year, where not totally de- 
stroyed, gave two good crops, or one crop and a plen- 
tiful fend ; and, bating tlie loss of the rye-grass, I do 
not remember a better produce. 

The meadow-grass yielded but a middling crop, 
and neither of the sown or natural grass was there 
in any farmer's possession any remainder from the 
year wortli taking into account. In most places 
there was none at all. 






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Oats with mo wero not in a quantitj more consid- 
erable than in commonly good seasons ; but I hare 
never known them heavier than they were in other 
places. The oat was not onlv an heavy, but an un- 
commonly abundant crop. 

My ground under pease did not exceed an acre or 
thereabouts, but the crop was great indeed. I believe 
it is througliout the country exuberant. It is, how- 
ever, to be remarked, as generally of all the grains, 
so particularly of the pease, that there was not the 
smallest quantity in reserve. 

The demand of the year must depend solely on its 
own produce ; and the price of tlie spring corn is not 
to be expected to fall very soon, or at any time very 
low. 

Uxbridge is a great corn market. As I came 
through that town, I found that at the last market- 
day barley was at forty shillings a quarter. O'-ts 
there were literally none; and the inn-keeper was 
obliged to send for them to London. I forgot to ask 
about pease. Potatoes were os. the busliel. 

In tlie debate on this subject in the House, I am 
told that a leading member of great ability, little con- 
veraant in these matters, observed, that tlie general uni- 
form dearness of butcher's meat, butter, and cheese 
could not be owing to a defective produce of wheat ; 
and on this ground insinuated a suspicion of some 
unfair practice on the subject, that called for inquiry. 
Unquestionably, the mere deficiency of wheat could 
not car. .; the doarness of the other articles, which ex- 
tends not only to tlie provisions he mentioned, but to 
every other without exception. 

The cause is, uideed, so very plain and obvious that 
the wonder is the other way. When a properly di- 



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161 



rected inquiry is made, the gentlemen who are amazed 
at the price of these commodities will find, that, when 
hay is at six pound a load, as they must know it is, 
herbage, and for more than one year, must be scanty ; 
and tliey will conclude, that, if grass be scarce, beef, 
veal, mutton, butter, milk, and clieeso must be dear. 

But to take up the matter somewhat more in de- 
tail. — If the wheat harvest in 1794, excellent in qual- 
ity, was defective in quantity, the barley liarvest was 
in quality ordinary enougli, and in quantity deficient. 
This was soon felt in the price of malt. 

Another article of produce (beans) was not at all 
plentiful. The crop of pease was wholly destroyed, 
so that several farmers pretty early gave up all hopes 
on that head, and cut tho careen haulm as fodder for 
the cattle, then perishing for want of food in tliat dry 
and burning summer. I myself came off better than 
most : I liad about tlie fourtli of a crop of pease. 

It will be recollected, that, in a manner, all the 
bacon and pork consumed in this country (tlio far 
largest consumption of meat out of towns) is, when 
growing, fed on grass, and on wliey or skimmed 
milk, — and when fatting, partly on ihe latter. Tliis 
is tlie case in the dairy countries, all of tiiem great 
breeders and feeders of swine; but for the much 
greater part, and in all the corn countries, tliey are 
fattened on beans, barley-mcal, and pease. When 
he food of the animal is scarcj, his flesh must be 
dear. This, one would suppose, would require no 
great penetration to discover. 

This failure of so very large a supply of flesh in one 
species naturally throws tho whole demand of the 
consumer on the diminished supply of all kindr, o:' 
flesli, and, indeed, on all the matters of human sus- 



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THOUGHTS AND DETAILS ON SCARCITY. 



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tenance. Nor, in my opinion, are we to expect a 
greater cheapness in that article for this year, even 
though corn should grow cheaper, as it is to be hoped 
it will. The store swine, from the failuia of subsist- 
ence last year, are now at an extravagant price. 
Pigs, at our fairs, have sold lately for fifty shillings, 
which two years ago would not have brought more 
than twenty. 

As to sheep, none, I thought, were strangers to the 
general failure of the article of turnips last year : the 
early having been burned, as they came up, by the 
great drought and heat; the late, and those of the 
early which had escaped, were destroyed by the chill- 
ing frosts of the winter and the wet and severe 
weather of the spring. In many places a full fourth 
of the slieep or the lambs were lost ; what remained 
of the lambs were poor and ill fed, the ewes having 
had no milk. The calves came late, and they were 
generally an article the want of which was as much 
to be dreaded as any other. So that article of food, 
formerly so abundant in the early part of the sum- 
mer, particularly in London, and which in a great 
part supplied the place of mutton for near two 
months, did little less than totally fail. 

All the productions of the earth link in with each 
other. All the sources of plenty, in all and every 
article, were dried or frozen up. The scarcity was 
not, as gentlemen seem to suppose, in wheat only. 

Another cause, and that not of inconsiderable op- 
eration, tended to produce a scarcity in flesh provis- 
ion. It is one that on many accounts cannot be too 
much regretted, and the ratlier, as it was the sole 
cause of a scarcity in that article which arose from 
the proceedings of men tliemselvcs : I mean the stop 
put to the distillery. 



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The hogs (and that would be sufficient) which 
were fed witli the waste wash of that produce did 
not demand the fourth part of the corn used by farm- 
ers in fattening them. The spirit was nearly so 
much clear gaui to the nation. It is an odd way of 
making flesh cheap, to stop or check the distill ry. 

The distillery in itself produces an immense arti- 
cle of trade almost all over the world, — to Africa, 
to North America, and to various parts of Europe. 
It is of great use, next to food itself, to our fisheries 
and to our whole navigation. A great part of the 
distillery was carried on by damaged corn, unfit for 
bread, and by barley and malt of the lowest quality. 
These things could not be more unexceptionably em- 
ployed. The domestic consumption of spirits pro- 
duced, without complaints, a very great revenue, 
applicable, if we plea!^ed, in bounties, to the bringing 
corn from other places, far beyond the value of that 
consumed in making it, or to the encouragement of 
its increased production at home. 

As to what is said, in a physical and moral view, 
against the home consumption of spirits, experience 
has long since taught me very little to respect the 
declamations on that subject. Whether the thunder 
of the laws or the thunder of eloquence " is hurled 
on gin" always I am thunder-pi-oof. The alembic, 
in my mind, has furnished to the world a far greater 
benefit and blessing than if the opua maximum had 
been really found by chemistry, and, like Midas, we 
could turn everything into gold. 

Undoubtedly there may be a dangerous abuse in 
the excess of spirits ; and at one time I am ready to 
believe the abuse was great. When spirits are cheap, 
the business of drunkenness is achieved with little 



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time or labor ; but that evil I consider to be wholly 
done away. Observation for the last forty years, and 
very particularly for the last thirty, has furnishvid me 
with ten instances of drunkenness from other causes 
for one from this. Ardent spirit is a great medicine, 
often to remove distempers, much more frequently 
to prevent them, or to chase them away in their be- 
ginnings. It is not nutritive in any great degree. 
But if not food, it greatly alleviates the want of it. 
It invigorates the stomach for the digestion of poor, 
meagre diet, not easily alliable to the human consti- 
tution. Wine the poor cannot touch. Beer, as ap- 
plied to many occasions, (as among seamen and fish- 
ermen, for instance,) will by no means do the business. 
Let me add, what wits inspired with champagne and 
claret will turn into ridicule, — it is a medicine for 
the mind. Under the pressure of the cares and sor- 
rows of our mortal condition, men have at all times 
and in all countries called in some physical aid to 
their moral consolations, — wine, beer, opium, bran- 
dy, or tobacco. 

I consider, therefore, the stopping of the distillery, 
economically, financially, commercially, medicinally, 
and in some degree morally too, as a measure rather 
well meant than well considered. It is too precious 
a sacrifice to prejudice. 

Gentlemen well know whether there be a scarcity 
of partridges, and whether that be an effect of hoard- 
ing and combination. All the tame race of birds live 
and die as the wild do. 

As to the lesser articles, they arc like the greater. 
They have followed the fortune of the season. Why 
are fowls dear ? Was not this the farmer's or jobber's 
fault 'i I sold from my yard to a jobber six young 



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and lean fowls for four-and-twenty shillings, — fowla 
for which two years ago the same man would not 
have given a shilling apiece. He sold them after- 
wards at Uxbridge, and they were taken to London 
to receive the last hand. 

As to the operation of the war in causing the 
scarcity of provisions, 1 understand that Mr. Pitt has 
given a particular answer to it; but I do not think 
it worth powder and shot. 

I do not wonder the papers are so full of this sort 
of matter, but I am a little surprised it should be 
mentioned in Parliament. Like all great state ques- 
tions, peace and war may be discussed, and different 
opinions fairly formed, on political grounds ; but on 
a question of the present price of provisions, when 
peace with the Regicides is always uppermost, I can 
only say that great is the love of it. 

After all, have we not reason to be thankful to the 
Giver of all Good ? In our history, and when " the 
laborer of England is said to have been once happy," 
we find constantly, after certain intervals, a period 
of real famine, by which a melancholy havoc was 
li^ado among the human race. The price of provis- 
ions fluctuated dreadfully, demonstrating a deficiency 
very different from the worst failures of the present 
moment. Never, since I have known England, have I 
known more than a comparative scarcity. The price 
of wheat, taking a number of years together, has had 
no very considerable fluctuation ; nor has it risen 
exceedingly until within this twelvemonth. Even 
now, I do not know of one man, woman, or child 
that has perished from famine : fewer, if any, I 
believe, than in years of plenty, when such a thing 
may happen by accident. This is owing to a care 



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and superintendeace of the poor, far greater than 
any I remember. 

The ccasideratiou of this ought to bmd us all, rich 
and poor together, against those wicked writers of 
the newspapers who would inflame the poor against 
their friends, guardians, patrons, and protectors. Not 
only very few ( I have observed that I know of none, 
though 1 live in a place as poor as most) have actu- 
ally died of want, but we have seen no traces of those 
dreadful exterminating epidemics which, in conse- 
quence of scanty and unwholesome food, in former 
times not unfrequently wasted whole nations. Let 
us be saved from too much wisdom of our own, and 
we shall do tolerably well. 

It is one of the finest problems in legislation, and 
what has often engaged my thoughts whilst I fol- 
lowed that profession, — What the state ought to take 
upon itself to direct by the public wisdom, and what 
it ought to leave, with as little interference as pos- 
sible, to individual discretion. Nothing, certainly, 
can be laid down on the subject that will not admit 
of exceptions, — many permanent, some occasional. 
But the clearest line of distinction which I could 
draw, \* l.ilst I ho,d my chalk to draw any line, was 
this: that the state ought to confine itself to what 
regards the state or the creatures of the state : name- 
ly, the exterior establishment of its religion ; its 
magistracy ; its revenue ; its military force by sea 
and land ; the corporations that owe their existence 
to its fiat ; in a word, to everything that is trvli/ and 
properli/ i)VLh\ic,— to the public peace, to the public 
safety, to the public order, to the public prosperity. 
In its preventive police it ought to be sparing of its 
efforts, and to employ means, rather few, unfrequent, 



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and strong, than many, and frequent, and, of course, 
as they multiply their puny politic race, and dwindle, 
small and feeble. Statesmen who know themselves 
will, with the dignity which belongs to wisdom, pro- 
ceed only in this the superior orb and first mover 
of their duty, steadily, vigilantly, severely, courageous- 
ly : whatever remains will, in a manner, provide for 
itself. But as they descend from the state to a prov- 
ince, from a province to a parish, and from a parish 
to a private house, they go on accelerated in their 
fall. They cannot do the lower duty ; and in pro- 
portion as they try it, they will certainly fail in the 
higher. They ought to know the different depart- 
ments of things, — what belongs to laws, and what 
manners alone can regulate. To these great pol- 
iticians may give a leaning, but they cannot give a 
law. 

Our legislature has fallen into this fault, as well 
^s other governments: all have fallen into it more 
or less. The once mighty state which was nearest 
to us locally, nearest to us in every way, and whose 
ruiiis threaten to fall upon our heads, is a strong 
instance of this error. I can never quote Prance 
without a foreboding sigh,— 'ESSETAI 'HMAP! 
Scipio said it to his recording Greek friend amidst 
ihe flames of the great rival of his country. That 
state has fallen by the hands of the parricides of f eir 
country, called the Revolutionists and Constitution- 
alists of France : a species of traitors, of whose fury 
and atrocious wickedness nothing in the annals of 
the frenzy and depravation of mankind had before 
furnished an example, and of whom I can never 
tliink or speak with<.>at a mir;ed sensation of d'sgust, 
of horror, and of detestation, not easy to be expressed. 



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168 



THOUGHTS AND DETAILS ON SCABCITT. 



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Those nefarious monsters destroyed their country for 
what was good in it : for much good there was in the 
Constitution of tliat noble monarchy, which, in all 
kinds, formed and nourished great men, and great 
patterns of virtue to the world. But though its ene- 
mies were not enemies to its faults, its faults furnished 
thorn with means for its dest'-uction. My dear de- 
parted friend, whose loss is even greater to the public 
than to me, had often remarked, that the leading 
vice of the French monarchy (which ho had well 
studied) was in good intention ill-directed, and a 
restless desire of governing too much. The hand 
of authority was seen in everything and in every 
place. All, therefore, that happened amiss, in the 
course even of domestic affairs, was attributed to 
the government: and as it always happens in this 
kind of officiou: universal interference, what began 
in odious power ended always, I may say without 
an exception, in contemptible imbecility. For this 
reason, as far as I can approve of any novelty, 
I thought well of the provincial administrations. 
Those, if the superior power had been severe and 
vigilant and vigorous, might have been of much 
use politically in removing government from many 
invidious dciails. But as everything is good or bad 
as it is related or combined, government being re- 
laxed above as it was relaxed below, and the brains 
of the people growing more and more addle with 
every sort of visionary speculation, the shiftings of 
the scene in the provincial theatres became only pre- 
paratives to a revolution iii the kingdom, and the 
popular actings there only the rehearsals of the 
terrible drama of the Republic. 
Tyranny and cruelty may make men justly wish 



THOUGHTS AND DETAILS ON SCARCITY. 



169 



the downfall of abused powers, but I believe that 
no government ever yet perished from any other di- 
rect cause than its own weakness. My opinion is 
against an overdoing of any sort of administration, 
and more especially against this most momentous 
of all meddling on the part of authority, — the med- 
dling with the subsistence of the people. 



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LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD 



on 



THE ATTACKS MADE UPON MR. BURKE AND fflS 
PENSION. IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, 



THE DUKE OF BEDFORD AND THE 
EARL OF LAUDERDALE, 

EASLV IM TBE PBBSEMT SESSION OF FASUAKXIIT. 



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1796. 



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LETTER. 






MY LORD,— I could hardly flatter myself with 
the hope that so very early in the season I 
should have to acknowledt»e obligations to the Duke 
of Bedford and to the Earl of Lauderdale. These 
noble persons have lost no time in conferring upon 
me that sort of honor which it is alone within their 
compoteuce, and which it is certainly most congenial 
to their nature and their manners, to bestow. 

To be ill spoken of, in whatever language they 
speak, by the zealots of the new sect in philosophy 
and politics, of which these noble persons think so 
charitably, and of which others think so justly, to me 
is no matter of uneasiness or surprise. To have in- 
curred the displeasure of the Duke of Orleans or the 
Duke of Bedford, to fall under the censure of Citizen 
Brissot or if his friend the Earl of Lauderdale, I 
ought to consider as proofs, not the least satisfactory, 
that I have produced some part of the f- . I pro- 
posed by my endeavors. I have labored lard to 
earn what the noble Lords are generous enough to 
pay. Personal offence I have given them none. The 
part they take against me is from zeal to the cause. 
It is well, — it is perfectly well. I have to do hom- 
age to their justice. I have to thank the Bedfords 
and the Lauderdales for having so faithfully and so 
fully acquitted towards me whatever arrear of debt 



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174 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LOBD 



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was left undischarged by the Priestleys and the 
Paiues. 

Some, perhaps, may think them executors in their 
own wrong: I at least have nothing to complain 
of. They have gone beyond the demands of justice 
They have been (a little, perhaps, beyond their inten- 
tion) favorable to me. They have been the means 
of bnnging out by their invectives the handsome 
thnigs which Lord GrenviUe has liad the goodness 
and condescension to say in my behalf. Retired as 
I am from the world, and from all its affairs and all 
Its pleasures, I confess it does kindle in my nearly 
extinguished feelings a very vivid satisfaction to be 
so attacked and so commended. It is soothing to 
my wounded mind to be commended by an able 
vigorous, and well-informed statesman, and at the 
very moment when he stands forth, with a manli- 
ness and resolution worthy of himself and of his 
cause, for the preservation of the person and gov- 
ernment of our sovereign, and therein for the securi- 
ty of the laws, the liberties, the morals, and the lives 
of his people. To be in any fair way connected with 
such things is indeed a distinction. No philosophy 
can make me above it: no melancholy can depress 
me so low as to make me wholly insensible to such 
an honor. 

Why will they not let me remain in obscurity and 
inaction ? Are they apprehensive, that, if an atom 
of me remains, the sect lias something to fear' Must 
I be annihilated, lest, like old John Zisca's, my skin 
might be made into a drum, to animate Europe to 
eternal battle against a tyranny that threatens to 
overwhelm all Europe and all the human race ? 

My Lord, it is a subject of awful meditation. Be- 



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ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION 



IV 6 



fore this of France, the annals of all time have not 
furnished an instance of a complete revolution. That 
revolution seems to have extended even to the con- 
stitution of the mind of man. It has this of wonder- 
ful in it, that it resembles what Lord Verulam says 
of the operations of Nature : It was perfect, not only 
in its elements and principles, but in all its members 
and its organs, from the very beginning. The mor- 
al scheme of Prance furnishes the only pattern ever 
known which they who admire w'U instanthf resem- 
ble. It is, indeed, an inexhaustible repertory of one 
kind of examples. In my wretched condition, though 
hardly to be classed with the liviug, I am not safo 
from them. They have tigers to fall upon animated 
strength ; they have hyenas to prey nyov carcasses. 
The national menagerie is collected by the first phys- 
iologists of the time ; and it is defective in no de- 
scription of savage nature. They pursue even such 
as me into the obscurest retreats, and haul thorn 
before their revolutionary tribunals. Neither sex, 
nor age, nor the sanctuary of tlie tomb, is sacred to 
them. They have so determined a hatred to all priv- 
ileged orders, that they deny even to the departed 
the sad immunities of the grave. They are not whol- 
ly without an object. Their turpitude purveys to 
their malice ; and they luplumb tho dead for bul- 
lets to assassinate the living. If all revolutionists 
were not proof against all caution, I should recom- 
mend it to their consideration, that no persons ware 
ever known in history, either sacred or profane, to 
vex the sepulchre, and by their sorceries to call up 
the prophetic det 1, with any other event than the 
prediction of their own disastrous fate. — " Leave 
me, oh, leave me to repose!" 






.M 



176 



LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD 



I 



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In one thing I can excuse the Duke of Bedford for 
his attack upon me and mj mortuary pension : He 
cannot readily comprehend the transaction he con- 
demns. What I have obtained was the fruit of no 
bargain, the production of no intrigue, the result of 
no compromise, the effect of no solicitation. The 
first suggestion of it never came from me, mediately 
or immediately, to his Majesty or any of his minis- 
ters. It was long known that the instant my engage- 
ments would permit it, and before the heaviest of all 
calamities had forever condemned me to obscurity 
and sorrow, I had resolved on a total retreat. I had 
erecuted that design. I was entirely out of the way 
of serving or of hurting any statesman or any party, 
when the ministers so generously and so nobly car- 
ried into effect the spontaneous boun'/ of the crown. 
Both descriptions have acted as became them. When 
I could no longer serve them, the ministers have con- 
sidered my situation. Wlien I could no longer hurt 
them, the revolutionists have trampled on my infirm- 
ity. My gratitude, I trust, is equal to the manner 
in which the benefit was conferred. It came to me, 
indeed, at a time of life, and in a state of mind and 
body, in which no circumstance of fortune could af- 
ford me any real pleasure. But thi«! was no fault 
in the royal donor, or in his ministers, who were 
pleased, in acknowledging the merits of an invalid 
servant of the public, to assuage the sorrows of a 
desolate old man. 

It would ill become me to boast of anything. It 
would as ill become me, thus called upon, to depre- 
ciate the value of a long life spent with unexampled 
toil in the service of my country. Since the total 
body of my services, on account of the industry 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON mS PENSiON. 



177 



which was shown in them, and the fairness of my 
intentions, have obtained the acceptance of my sov- 
ereign, it would be absurd in me to range myself on 
the side of the Duke of Bedford and the Correspond- 
ing Society, or, as far as in me lies, to perm'.t a dis- 
pute on the rate at which the authority appointed 
by our Constitution to estimate such tilings has b«>ea 
pleased to set them. 

Loose libels ought to bo passed by in silence and 
contempt. By me they have been so always. I 
knew, that, as long as I remained in public, I should 
live down the calumnies of malice and the judgments 
of ignorance. If I happened to be now and then in 
the wrong, (as who is not?) like all other men, I 
must bear the consequenco of my faults and my mis- 
takes. The libels of the present day are just of the 
same stuflf as the libels of the past. But they derive 
an importance from the rank of the persons they 
come from, and the gravity of the place where they 
were uttered. In some way or other I ought to take 
some notice of them. To assert myself thus traduced 
is not vanity or arrogance. It is a demand of jus- 
tice ; it is a demonstration of gratitude. If I am 
unworthy, the ministers are worse than prodigal. 
On that hypothesis, I perfectly agree with the Duke 
of Bedford. 

For whatever I have been (I am now no more) I 
put myself on my country. I ought to be allowed a 
reasonable freedom, because I stand upon my deliv- 
erance; and no culprit ou'jht to plead in irons. 
Even in the utmost latitude of defensive liberty, I 
wish to preserve all possible decorum. Whatever 
it may be in the eyes of these noble persons them- 
selves, to mc their situation calls for the most pro- 

TOL. Y. 12 



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178 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE UtSD 




found respect. If I should happen U. trespass a 
little, which I trust I shall not, let it always be 
supposed that a confusion of characters may produce 
mistakes, — that, in the masquerades of the grand 
carnival of our age, whimsical adventures happen, 
odd things are said and pass off. If I should fail a 
single point in the high respect I owe to those illus- 
trious persons, I cannot be supposed to mean the 
Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Lauderdale of the 
House of Peers, but the Duke of Bedford t^nd the 
Earl of Lauderdale of Palace Yard, — the Dukes and 
Earls of Brentford. There they are on the pave- 
ment; there they seem to come nearer to my hum- 
ble level, and, virtually at least, to have waived their 
high privilege. 

Making this protestation, I refuse all revolutionary 
tribunals, where men have been put to death for no 
other reason than that they had obtained favors from 
the crown. I claim, not the letter, but the spirit 
of the old English law, — that is, to be tried by my 
peers. I decline his Grace's jurisdiction as a judge. 
I challenge the Duke of Bedford as a juror to pass 
upon the value of my services. Whatever his natu- 
ral parts may be, I cannot recognize in his few and 
idle years the competence to judge of my long and 
laborious life. If I can help it, he shall not be on 
the inquest of my quantum meruit. Poor rich man ! 
he can hardly know anything of public industry in 
its exertions, or can estimate its compensations when 
its work is done. I have no doubt of his Grace's 
readiness in all the calculations of vulgar arithme- 
tic ; but I shrewdly suspect that he is little studied 
in the theory of moral proportions, and has never 
learned the rule of three in the arithmetic of policy 
and state. 




ON THE ATTACKS UPON mS PENSION. 



179 



His Grace thinks I have obtained too much. I 
answer, that mj exertions, whatever they have been, 
were such as no hopes of pecuniary reward could 
possibly excite ; and no pecuniary compensation can 
possibly reward them. Between money and such 
sei vices, if done by abler men than I am, there is no 
common principle of comparison : they are quantities 
incommensurable. Money is made for the comfort 
and convenience of animal life. It cannot bo a re- 
ward for what mere animal life must, indeed, sustain, 
but never can inspire. With submission to his Grace, 
I have not had more than sufficient. As to any noble 
use, I trust I know how to employ as weU as lie a 
much greater fortune than he possesses. In a more 
confined application, I certainly stand in need of ev- 
ery kind of relief and easement much more than he 
does. When I say I have not received more than I 
deserve, is this the language I hold to Majesty ? No ! 
Far, very far, from it ! Before that presence I claim 
no merit at all. Everything towards me is favor 
and bounty. One style to a gracious benefactor; 
another to a proud and insulting foe. 

His Grace is pleased to aggravate my guilt by 
charging my acceptance of his Majesty's grant as a 
departure from my ideas and the spirit of my con- 
duct with regard to economy. If it be, my ideas 
of economy were false and ill-founded. But they 
are the Duke of Bedford's ideas of economy I have 
contradicted, and not my own. If lie means to al- 
lude to certain bills brought in by me on a message 
from the throne in 1782, I tell him that there is 
nothing in my conduct that can contradict either 
the letter or the spirit of those acts. Does he mean 
the Pay-Office Act ? I take it for granted he does 



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180 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LORD 



not. The act to which he alludes is, I siippose, the 
Establishment Act. I greatly doubt whether his 
Grace has ever read the one or the other. The first 
of these systems cost me, with every assistance which 
my then situation gave me, pains incredible. I found 
an opinion common through all the offices, and gen- 
eral in the public at large, that it would prove im- 
possible to reform and methodize the office of pay- 
master-general. I undertook it, however; and I 
succeeded in my undertaking. Whether the mili- 
tary service, or whether tho general economy of our 
finances have profited by that act, I leave to those 
who ire acquainted with the army and with the 
treasury to judge. 

An opinion full as general prevailed also, at the 
same time, that nothing could be done for the regu- 
lation of the civil list establishment. The very at- 
tempt to introduce method into it, and any limitations 
to its services, was held absurd. I had not seen the 
man who so much as suggested one economical prin 
ciple or an economical expedient upon that subject. 
Nothing but coarse amputation or coarser taxation 
were then talked of, both of them without design, 
combination, or the least shadow ot principle. Blind 
and headlong zeal or factious fury were ths whole 
contribution brought by the most noisy, on that oc- 
casion, towards the satisfaction of the public or the 
relief of the crown. 

Let me tell my youthful censor, that the necessi- 
ties of that time required something very different 
from what others then suggested or what his Grace 
now conceives. I<et me inform him, that it was one 
of the most critical periods in our annals. 

Astronomers have supposed, that, if a certain comet, 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 181 

whose path intersected the ecliptic, had met tlie earth 
in some ( I forget what) sign, it would have whirled 
us along with it, in its eccentric course, into God 
knows what regions of heat and cold. Had tho por- 
tentous comet of the Rights of Man, (which " from 
its horrid hair shakes pestilence and war," and " with 
fear of change perplexes monarchs,") had that comet 
crossed upon us in that internal state of England, 
nothing human could have prevented our being ir- 
resistibly hurried out of the highway of heaven into 
all the vices, crimes, horrors, and miseries of the 
French Revolution. 

Happily, France was not then Jacobinized. Her 
hostility was at a good distance. Wo had a limb 
cut off, but we pr3served the body: we lost our colo- 
nies, but we kept our Constitution. There was, in- 
deed, much intestine heat ; there was a dreadful fer- 
mentation. Wild and savage insurrection quitted 
the woods, and prowled about our streets in the name 
of Reform. Such was the distemper of the public 
mind, that there wa^ no madman, in his maddest 
ideas and maddest projects, who might not count 
upon numbers to support his principles and execute 
his designs. 

Many of the changes, by a great misnomer called 
Parliamentary Reforms, went, not in the intention of 
all the professors and supporters of them, undoubt- 
edly, but went in their certain, and, in my opinion, 
not very remote effect, home to the utter destruction 
of the Constitution of this kingdom. Had they taken 
place, not France, but England, would have had the 
honor of leading up the death-danco of democratic 
revolution. Other projects, exactly coincident in 
time with those, struck at the very existence of the 



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182 



UTiTEB TO A NOBLS LORD 



kingdom under any Constitution. There are who 
roracmber the blind fury of some and the lamentable 
helplessness of others ; here, a toroid confusion, from 
a panic fear of the danger, — thtire, the same inac- 
tion, from a stupid insensibility to it ; here, well-wish- 
ers to the mischief, — there, indiflFereut lookers-on. 
At th'j same time, a sort of National Conrcutiou, 
Jubi lus in its nati e and perilous in its example, 
nosed Parliament in the very seat of its autlii ity, — 
sat with a sort of suporintondonce over it, — and lit- 
tle less than dictated to it, not only laws, but the 
very form and essence of legislature itself. In Ire- 
land things ran in a still more eccentric course. 
Government was unnerved, confounded, and in a 
manner suspended. Its equipoise was totally gone. 
I do not mean to speak disrespectfully of Lord Nortli. 
He was a man of admirable parts, of general knowl- 
edge, of a versatile understanding fitted for every sort 
of business, of infinite wit and pleasantry, of a de- 
lightful temper, and with a mind most perfectly dis- 
interested. But it would be only to degrade myself 
by a weak adulation, and not to honor the memory 
of a great man, to deny that he wanted something 
of the vigilance and spirit of command that the time 
required. Indeei, a darkness next to the fog of this 
awful day lowered over the whole region. For a lit- 
tle time the holm appeared abandr"-;d. 

Ipse diem noctemque negat dUcernere ccelo, 
Nee meminisse vite medi& Falinarus in and&. 

At that time I was connected with men of high 
place in the comTiunity. They loved liberty as much 
as the Duke of Bedford can do; and they under- 
stood it at least as well. Perhaps their politics, 
as usual, took a tincture from their character, and 



if f 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON H18 PENSION. 



188 



they cultivated what they loved. The liberty thoy 
pursued was a liberty inseparable from order, from 
v*r+ue, from morals, and from religion, — and wa« 
neither hypocriticcUy nor fanatically followed. They 
did not wi... that liberty, in itself one of the first of 
blessings, should in its perversion become the great- 
est curse which could fall upon mankind. To pre- 
serve the Constitution entire, and practically equal 
to all the great ends of its formation, not in one sin- 
gle part, but in all its parts, was to them the first 
object. Popularity and power they regarded alilce. 
These were with them only difierent means of obtain- 
ing that object, and had no preference over each other 
in their minds, but as one or the other might afford 
a surer or a less certain prospect of arriving at that 
end. It is some consolation to me, in the cheerless 
gloom which darkens the evening of my life, that 
with them I commenced my political career, and nev- 
er for a moment, in reali^f uor in appearance, for 
any length of time, was separated from their good 
wishes and good opinion. 

By what accident it matters not, nor upon what 
desert, but just then, and in the midst of that hunt 
of obloquy which ever has pursued me with a full cry 
through life, I had obtained a very considerable de- 
gree 01 public confidence. I know well enough how 
equivocal a test this kind of popular opinion forms of 
the merit that obtained it. I am no stranger to tho 
insecurity of its tenure. I do not boast of it. It is 
mentioned to show, not how highly I prize the thing, 
but my right to value the use I made of it. I en- 
deavored to turn that short-lived advantage to myself 
into a permaneat benefit to my country. Far am I 
from detracting from the merit of some gentlemen, 



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184 



LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD 



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out of office or in it, on that occasion. Xo ! It is 
not my way to refuse a full and heaped measure of 
justice to the aids that I receive. I have through life 
been willing to give everything to others, — and to re- 
serve nothing for myself, but the inward conscience 
that I had omitted no pains to discover, to animate, 
to discipline, to direct the abilities of the country for 
its service, and to place them in the best light to 
improve their age, or to adorn it. This conscience 
I have. I have never suppressed any man, never 
checked liim for a moment in his course, by any jeal- 
ousy, or by any policy. I was always ready, to the 
heiglit of .ay means, (and they were always infinitely 
below my desires,) to forward those abilities which 
overpowered my own. He is an ill-furnished under- 
taker who has no machinery but his own hands to 
work with. Poor in my own faculties, I ever thought 
myself rich in theirs. In thac period of difficulty and 
danger, more especially, I consulted and sincerely 
cooperated with men of all parties who seemed dis- 
posed to the same ends, or to any main part of them. 
Nothing to prevent disorder was omitted: when it 
appeared, nothing to subdue it was left uncounselled 
nor unexecuted, as far as I could prevail. At the 
time I speak of, and having a momentary lead, so 
aided and so encouraged, and as a feeble instrument 
in a mighty hand — I do not say I saved my country ; 
I am sure I did my country important service. There 
were few, indeed, that did not at that time acknowl- 
edge it, — and that time was thirteen years ago. It 
was but one voice, that man in the kingdom bet- 
ter deserved an honora'uij provision should be made 
for him. 

So much for my general conduct through the whole 




ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



185 



' » 



of the portentous crisis from 1780 to 1782, and the 
general sense then entertained of that conduct by 
my country. But my character as a reformer, in the 
particular instances which the Duke of Bedford re- 
fers to, is so connected in principle with my opinions 
on the hideous changes which have since barbarized 
Prance, and, spreading thence, threaten the political 
and moral order of the whole world, that it seems to 
demand something of a more detailed discussion. 

My economical reforms were not, as his Grace may 
think, the suppression of a paltry pension or employ- 
ment, more or less. Economy in my plans was, as 
it ought to be, secondary, subordinate, instrumental. 
I acted on state principles. I found a great distem- 
per in the commonwealth, and according to the na- 
ture of the evil and of the object I treated it. The 
malady was deep ; it was complicated, in the causes 
and in the symptoms. Throughout it was full of 
contra-indicants. On one hand, government, daily 
growing more invidious from an apparent increase of 
the means of strength, was every day growing more 
contemptible by real weakness. Nor was this disso- 
lution confined to government commonly so called. 
It extended to Parliament, which was losing not a 
little in its dignity and estimation by an opinion of its 
not acting on worthy motives. On the other hand, 
the desires of the people (partly natural and partly 
infused into them by art) appeared in so wild and in- 
considerate a manner with regard to the economical 
object, (for I set aside for a moment the dreadful 
tampering with the body of the Constitution itself,) 
that, if their petitions had literally been complied 
with, the state would have been convulsed, and a 
gate would have been opened through which all prop- 



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186 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LOBD 



erty might be sacked and ravaged. Xothing conld 
have saved the public from the mischiefs of the lalse 
reform but its absurdity, which would soon have 
brought itself, and with it all real reform, into dis- 
credit. This would have left a rankling wound in 
the hearts of the people, who would know they had 
failed in the accomplishment of their wishes, but who, 
like the rest of mankind in all ages, would impute 
the blame to anything rather than to their own pro- 
ceedings. But there were then persons in the world 
who nourished complaint, and would have been thor- 
oughly disappointed, if the people were ever satisfied. 
I was not of that humor. I wished that they should 
be satisfied. It was my aim to give to the people the 
substance of what I knew they desired, and what I 
thought was right, whether they desired it or not, be- 
fore it had been modified for them into senseless pe- 
titions. I knew that there is a manifest, marked 
distinction, which ill men with ill designs, or weak 
men incapable of any design, will constantly be con- 
founding, — that is, a marked distinction between 
change and reformation. The former alters the sub- 
stance of the objects themselves, and gets rid of all 
their essential good as well as of all the accidental 
evil annexed to them. Change is novelty ; and 
whether it is to operate any one of the efiects of 
reformation at all, or whether it may not contradict 
the very principle upon which reformation is desired, 
cannot be certainly known beforehand. Reform is 
not a change in the substance or in the primary mod- 
ification of the object, but a direct application of a 
remedy to the grievance complained of. So far as 
that is removed, all is sure. It stops there ; and if 
it fails, the substance which underwent the operation, 
at the very worst, is but whore it was. 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



187 



All this, in effect, I think, but am not sure, I have 
said elsewhere. It caiii.ot at this time be too often 
repeated, line upon line, precept upon precept, until 
it comes into the currency of a proverb, — To inno- 
vate is not to reform. The French revolutionists com- 
plained of everything ; they refused to reform any- 
thing ; and they left nothing, no, nothing at all, un 
changed. The consequences are before us, — not in 
remote history, not in future prognostication : they 
are about us ; they are upon us. They shake the 
public security ; they menace private enjoyment. 
They dwarf the growth of the young ; they break the 
quiet of the old. If we travel, they stop our way. 
They infest us in town ; they pursue us to the coun- 
try. Our business is interrupted, our repose is troub- 
led, our pleasures are saddened, our very studies are 
poisoned and perverted, and knowledge is rendered 
worse than ignorance, by the enormous evils of this 
dreadful innovation. The Revolution harpies of 
France, sprung from Night and Hell, or from that 
chaotic Anarchy which generates equivocally " all 
monstrous, all prodigious things," cuckoo-like, adul- 
terously lay their eggs, and brood over, and hatch 
them in the nest of every neighboring state. These 
obscene harpies, who deck themselves in I know not 
what divine attributes, but who in reality are foul 
and ravenous birds of prey, ( both mothers and daugh- 
ters,) flutter over our heads, and souse down upon 
our tables, and leave nothing unrent, unrifled, un- 
ravaged, or unpolluted with the slime of their filthy 
offal.* 

* Tristias hand illia moiib.ram, nee sKTior nlla 
I'estis et ira DeClin Stygiis sese extulit undia. 
Virginei volucrum vultus, foedissima ventris 



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LETTEB TO A NOBLE LORD 



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If his Grace can contemplate the result of this com- 
plete innovation, or, as some friends of his will call 
it, reform, in the whole body of its solidity and com- 
pound mass, at which, as Hamlet says, the face of 
heaven glows with horror and indignation, and which, 
in truth, makes every reflecting mind and every feel- 
ing heart perfectly thought-sick, without a thorough 
abhorrence of every t ling thoy say and everything they 
do, I am amazed the morbid strength or the nat- 
ural infirmity ui his mind. 

It was, then, not my love, but my hatred to inno- 
vation, that produced my plan of reform. Without 
troubling myself with the exactness of the logical 
diagram, I considered them as things substantially 
opposite. It was to prevent that evil, that I proposed 
the measures which his Grace is pleased, and I am 
not sorry he is pleased, t- recall to my recollection. 
I had (what I hope that noble Duke will remember 
in all his operations) a state to preserve, as well as 
a state to reform. I had a people to gratify, but not 
to inflame or to mislead. I do not "laim half the 
credit for what I did as for what I prevented from 
being done. In that situation of the public mind, I 
did not undertake, as was then proposed, to new-mod- 
el the House of Commons or the House of Lords, or 

Proluvies, nncaeque manus, et pallida semper 
Ora fame. 

Here the poet breaks the line, because he (and that he is Virgn) had 
not verse or language to describe that monster even as he had con- 
ceived Her. Had he lived to our time, he would have been more over- 
powered with the reality than he was with the imagination. Virgil 
only knew the horror of the times before him. Had he lived to gee 
the revolutionists and constitutionalists of France, he would have had 
more horrid and disgusting features of his harpies to describe, and 
more frequent failures in the attempt to describe them. 



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ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSIOy. 



189 



to change the authority under which any officer of the 
crown acted, who was suffered at all to exist. Crown, 
lords, cnmons, judicial system, system of administra- 
tion, eii'^ted as they had existed before, and in the 
mode and manner in which they had always existed. 
My measures were, what I then truly stated them to 
the House to be, in their intent, healing and media- 
torial. A complaint was made of too much influ- 
ence in the House of Commons : I reduced it in both 
Houses ; and I gave my reasons, article by article, for 
every reduction, and showed why I thought it safe 
for the service f the state. I heaved the lead every 
inch of way I made. A disposition to expense was 
complained of: to that I opposed, not mere retrench- 
ment, but a system of economy, which woiild make a 
random expense, without plan or foresight, in future, 
not easily practicable. I proceeded upon prii. iples 
of research to put me in possession of my matter, on 
principles of method to regulate it, and on principles 
in the human mind and in civil affairs to secure and 
perpetuate the operation. I conceived nothing arbi- 
trarily, nor proposed anything to be done by the will 
and pleasure of others or my own, — but by reason, 
and by reason only. I have ever abhorred, since the 
first dawn of my understanding to this its obscure 
twilight, all the operations of opinion, fancy, inclina- 
tion, and will, in the affr" " government, where 
only a sovereign reason, \ )unt to all '"cims of 

legislation and administrati .., should dictate. Gov- 
ernment is made for the very purpo&e of opposing that 
reason to will and to caprice, in the reformers or in 
the reformed, in the governors or in the governed, 
in kings, in senates, or in people. 

On a careful review, therefore, and analysis of all 



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LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD 




the component parts of the civil list, and on weigh- 
ing them against each otlier, in order to make as 
much as possible all of them a subject of estimate, 
(the foundation and corner-stone of all regular, provi- 
dent economy,) it appeared to me evident that this 
was impracticable, whilst that part called the pension 
list was totally discretionary in its amount. For this 
reason, and for this only, I proposed to reduce it, 
both in its gross quantity and in its larger individual 
proportions, to a certainty ; lest, if it were left with- 
out a general limit, it might eat up the civil list ser- 
vice, — if suffered to b? granted in portions too great 
for the fund, it might defeat its own end, and, by un- 
limited allowances to soine, it might disable the crown 
in means of providing for others. The pension list 
was to be kept as a sacred fund ; but it could not be 
kept as a constant, open fund, sufficient for growing 
demands, if som demands would wholly devour it. 
Tlie tonor of tlio act will show that it regarded the 
civil list only, the reduction of which to some sort of 
estimate was my great object. 

No other of the crown funds did I meddle with, 
because they hai not the same relations. This of 
the four and a half per cents does his Grace imagine 
had escaped me, or had escaped all the men of busi- 
ness wlio acted with me in those regulations ? I 
knew that such a fund existed, and that pensions 
had oeen always granted on it, before liis Grace was 
born. This fund was full in my eye. It was full in 
the eyes of those who worked with me. It was left 
on principle. On principle I did what was then done ; 
and on principle what was left undone was omitted. 
I did not dare to rob the nation of all funds to re- 
ward merit. If I pressed this point too close, I acted 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



191 



contrary to the avowed principles on which I went. 
Gentlemen are very fond of quoting me ; but if any 
one thinks it worth his while to know the rules that 
guided me in my plan of reform, he will read my 
printed speech on that subject, at least what is con- 
tained from page 230 to page 241 in the second vol- 
ume of the collection* which a friend has given 
himself the trouble to make of my publications. Be 
this as it may, these two bills (though achieved with 
the greatest labor, pnd management of every sort, 
both within and without the House) were only a 
part, and but a small part, of a very large system, 
comprehending all the objects I stated in opening 
my proposition, and, indeed, many more, which I 
just hinted at in my speech to the electors of Bris- 
tol, when I was put out of that representation. All 
these, in some state or other of forwardness, I have 
long had by me. 

But do I justify his Majesty's grace on these 
grounds? I think them the least of my services. 
Tlie time gave them an occasional value. What I 
have done in the way of political economy was far 
from confined to this body of measures. I did not 
come into Parliament to con my lesson. I had earned 
my pension before I set my foot in St. Stephen's 
Chapel. I was prepared and disciplined to this polit- 
ical warfare. The first session I sat in Parliament, I 
found it necessary to analyze the whole commercial, 
financial, constitutional, and foreign interests of Great 
Britain and its empire. A great deal was then done ; 
and more, far more, would have been done, if more 
had been permitted by events. Then, in the vigor of 
my manhood, my constitution sunk under my labor. 

• London, J. Dodsiey, 1792, 3 vols. 4to. — Vol. II. pp. 324-330, 
in the present edition. 



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LETTEB TO A NOBLE LOBD 



Had I then died, (and I seemed to myself very near 
death,) I had then earned for those who belonged to 
mo more than the Duke of Bedford's ideas of service 
are of power to estimate. But, in truth, these servi- 
ces I am called to account for are not those on which 
I value myself the most. If I were to call for a re- 
ward, (which I have never done,) it should be for 
those in which for fourteen years without intermission 
I showed the most industry and had the least success: 
I mean in the affairs of India. They are those on 
which I value myself the most : most for the impor- 
tance, most for the labor, most for the judgment, 
most for constancy and perseverance in the pursuit. 
Others may value them most for the intention. In 
that, surely, they are not mistaken. 

Does his Grace think that they who advised the 
crown to make my retreat easy considered me only 
as an economist? That, well understood, however, 
is a good deal. If I had not deemed it of some val- 
ue, I sliould not have made political economy an ob- 
ject of my humble studies from my very early youth 
to near the end of my service in Parliament, even 
before (at least to any knowledge of mine) it had 
employed the thoughts of speculative men in other 
parts of Europe. At tl it time it was still in ita 
infancy in England, where, in the last century, it 
had its origin. Great and learned men thought my 
studies were not wliolly thrown away, and deigned 
to communicate with me now and then on some par- 
ticulars of their immortal works. Something of Miese 
studios may appear incidentally in some of the ear- 
liest things I published. The House has been wit- 
ness to their effect, ai'.d lias profited of them, more 
or less, for above eight-aud-tweuty years. 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



198 






To their estimate I leave the matter. I was not, 
like his Grace of Bedford, swaddled and rocked and 
dandled into a legislator: "iWtor in advertum" is 
the motto for a man like me. I possessed not one 
of the qualities nor cultivated one of the arts that 
recommend men to the favor and protection of the 
great. I was not made for a ninion or a tool. As 
little did I follow the trade oi winning the hearts by 
imposing on the understandings of the people. At 
every step of my progress in life, (foi In every step 
was I traversed and opposed,) xnd at every turnpike 
I met, I was obliged to show my passport, and again 
and again to prove my sole titlo to the honor of be- 
ing useful to my country, by a proof that I was not 
wholly unacquainted with its laws and the whole sys- 
tem of its interests both abroad and at home. Oth- 
erwise, no rank, no toleration even, for me. I had 
no arts but manly arts. On them I have stood, and, 
please God, in spite of the Duke of Bedford and the 
Earl of Lauderdale, to the last gasp will I stand. 

Had his Grace condescended to inquire concern- 
ing the person whom he has not thought it below 
him to reproach, he might have found, that, in the 
whole course of my life, I have never, on any pre- 
tence of economy, or on any other pretence, so much 
as in a single instance, stood between any man and 
his reward of service or his encouragement in useful 
talent and pursuit, from the highest of those services 
and pursuits to the lowest. On the contrary, I have 
on an hundred occasions exerted myself with singu- 
lar zeal to forward every man's even tolerable pre- 
tensions. I have more than once had good-natured 
reprehensions from my friends for carrying the mat- 
ter to something bordering on abuse. This line of 



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LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD 



conduct, whatever its merits might be, was partly 
owing to natural disposition, but I think full as much 
to reason and principle. I looked on the considera- 
tion of public service or public ornament to be real 
and very justice ; and I ever held a scanty and pe- 
nurious justice to partake ot the nature of a wrong. 
I held it to be, in its consequences, the worst econo- 
my in the world. In saving money I soon can count 
up all the good I do ; but when by a cold penury I 
blast the abilities of a nation, and stunt the growtli of 
its active energies, the ill I may do is beyond all cal- 
culation. Whether it be too much or too little, what- 
ever I have done has been general and systematic. I 
have never entered into those trifling vexations and 
oppressive details that have been falsely and most 
ridiculously laid to my charge. 

Did I blame the pensions given to Mr. Barr^ and 
Mr. Dunning between the proposition and execution 
of my plan ? No ! surely, no ! Those pensions were 
within my principles. 1 assert it, those gentlemen 
deserved their pensions, their titles, — all they had ; 
and if more they had, I should have been but 
pleased the more. They were men of talents ; they 
were men of service. I put tlie profession of the law 
out of the question in one of tliem. It is a service 
that rewards itself. But their public service, though 
from their abilities unquestionably of more value than 
mine, in its quantity and in its duration was i. - ; to be 
mentioned with it. But I never could drive a hard 
bargain in my life, concerning any matter whatever ; 
and least of all do I know how to haggle and huck- 
ster with merit. Pension for myself I obtained none ; 
nnr did I solicit any. Yet I was loaded with hatred 
for everything that was withheld, and with obloquy 



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ON THE attacks! UPON HIS PENSION. 



195 



for everything that was given. I was thus left to 
support the grants of a name ever dear to me and 
ever venerable to the world in favor of those who 
were no friends of mine or of his, against the rude 
attacks of those who were at that time friends to the 
grantees and their own zealous partisans. I have 
never heard the Earl of Lauderdale complain of these 
pensions. He finds nothing wrong till he comes to 
me. This is impartiality, in the true, modern, revo- 
lutionary style. 

Whatever I did at that time, so far as it regarded 
order and economy, is stable and eternal, as all prin- 
ciples must be. A particular order of things may 
be altered : order itself cannot lose its value. As to 
other particulars, they are variable by time and by 
circumstances. Laws of regulation are not funda- 
mental laws. The public exigencies are the masters 
of all such laws. They rule the laws, and are not to 
be ruled by them. They vho exercise the legislative 
power at the time must judge. 

It may be new to his Grace, but I beg leave to tell 
him that mere parsimony is not economy. It is 
separable in theory from it ; and in fact it may or it 
may not be a part of economy, according to circum- 
stances. Expense, and great expense, may be an es- 
sential part in true ecoromy. If parsimony were to 
be considered as one o. the kii> ' of that virtue, there 
is, however, another and an hi^iier economy. Econo- 
my is a distributive virtue, and consists, not in saving, 
but in selection. Parsimony requires no providence, 
no sagacity, no powers of combination, no comparison, 
no judgment. Mere instinct, and that not an instinct 
of the noblest kind, may produce this false economy 
in perfection. Tlie other economy has larger views 



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LETTEB TO ▲ NOBU! LORD 



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It demands a discriminating judgment, and a firm, 
sagacious mind. It shuts one door to impudent im- 
portunity, only to open another, and a wider, to un- 
presuming merit. If none but meritorious service or 
real talent were to be rewarded, this nation has not 
wanted, and this nation will not want, the means of 
rewarding all the service it ever will receive, and 
encouraging all the merit it ever will produce. No 
state, since the foundation of society, has been impov- 
erished by that species of profusion. Had the econ- 
omy of selection aud proportion been at all times 
observed, we should not now have had an overgrown 
Duke of Bedford, to oppress the industry of humble 
men, and to limit, by tb" standard of his own concep* 
tions, the justice, the ">r, if he pleases, the 

charity of the crown. 

His Grace may think ao as he will of my 

deserts in the far greater part oi my conduct in life. 
It is free for him to do so. There will always be 
some difference of opinion in the value of political 
services. But there is one merit of mine which he, 
of all men living, ought to be the last to call in ques- 
tion. I have supported with very great zeal, and I 
am told with some degree of success, those opinions, 
or, if his Grace likes another expression better, those 
old pre' idices, which buoy up the ponderous mass 
of his nobility, wealth, and titles. I have omitted 
no exertion to prevent him and them from sinking 
to that level to which the meretricious French fac- 
tion his Grace at least coquets with omit no exertion 
to reduce both. I have done all I could to discoun- 
tenance their inquiries into the fortunes of those who 
hold large portions of wealth without any apparent 
merit of their own. I have strained every nerve to 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



keep the Duke of Bedfurd in that situation which 
alouo makes him my superior. Your Lordsliip haa 
been a witness of the use he makes of that preemi- 
nence. 

But be it that this is virtue ; be it that there is vir- 
tue in this well-solected rigor : yet all virtues are not 
equally becoming to all men and at all times. Tliorc 
are crimes, undoubtedly there are crimes, wliich in ull 
seuiJOiis of our existence ought to put a generous an- 
tipathy in action, — crimes that provoke au indign:iiit 
justice, and call forth a warm and animated pursuit. 
But all things that concern what I may call the pre- 
ventive police of morality, all things merely rigid, 
har»h, and censorial the antiquated moralists at whose 
feet I was brought up would not have thought these 
the fittest matter to form the favorite virtues of young 
men of rank. Wliat might have been well enough, 
and have been received with a m aeration mixed with 
awe and terror, from an old, severe, crabbed Cato, 
would have wanted something of propriety in tlie 
young Scipios, the ornament of the Roman nobility, 
in the flower of tlieir life. But the times, the morals, 
the masters, the scholars, have all undergone a thor- 
ough revolution. It is a vile, illiberal school, this 
new French academy of the sans-culottes. Tlicre is 
nothing in it that is fit for a gentleman to loam. 

Wliatever its vogue may be, I still flatter myself 
that tlie parents of the growing generation will bo 
satisfied with what is to be taught to their children in 
Westminster, in Eton, or in Winchester ; I still in- 
dulge tlie hope that no groivn gentleman or nobleman 
of our time will tliink of finishing at fr. Tliel wall's 
lecture wliatever may have been left incomplete at the 
old universities of his country. I would give to Lord 



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LETTEB TO A NOBLE LOBD 



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Greuville and Mr. i'itt for a motto what was said of a 
Roman censor or praetor (or wliat was he ?) who in 
virtue of a Senatusconsultum shut up certain acade- 
mics, — '■'■Cludere ludum impudenttce jussit." Every 
honest father of a family in the kingdom will rejoice 
at the breaking-up for the holidays, and will pray that 
there may be a very long vacation, in all such schools. 
The awful state of the time, and not myself, or my 
own justification, is my true object in what I now 
write, or in what I shall ever write or say. It little 
signifies to the world what becomes of such things as 
me, or even as the Duke of Bedford. What I say 
about either of us is nothing more than a vehicle, as 
you, my Lord, will easily perceive, to convey my senti- 
ments on matters far more worthy of your attention. 
It is when I stick to my apparent first subject that 
I ought to apologize, not when I depart from it. I 
therefore must beg your Lordship's pardon for again 
resuming it after this very sliort digression, — assur- 
ing you that I shall never altogether lose sight of 
such matter as persons abler than I am may turn 
to some profit. 

The Duke of Bedford conceives that he is obliged 
to call the attention of the House of Peers to his 
Majesty's grant to me, which he considers as exces- 
sive and out of all bounds. 

I know not how it has happened, but it really 
seems, that, whilst his Grace was meditating his well- 
considered censure upon me, he fell into a sort of 
sleep. Homer nods, and the Duke of Bedford may 
dream; and as dreams (even his golden dreams) 
are apt to be ill-pieced and incongruously put to- 
gether, his Grace preserved his idea of reproach 
to me, but took the subject-matter from the crown 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



199 



grants to his own family. This is "the stuflf of 
which his dreams are made." In that way of put- 
ting things together his Grace is perfectly in the 
right. The grants to the House of Russell were so 
enormous as not only to outrage economy, but even 
to stagger credibility. The Duke of Bedford is the 
leviathan among all the creatures of the crown. He 
tumbles about his unwieldy bulk, he plays and frol- 
ics in the ocean of the royal bourty. Huge as he is, 
and whilst " he lies floating many a rood," he is still 
a creature. His ribs, his fins, his whalebone, his 
blubber, the very spiracles through which he spouts 
a torrent of brine against his origin, and covers 
me all over with the spray, everything of him and 
about him is from the throne. Is it for him to ques- 
tion the dispensation of the royal favor? 

I really am at a loss to draw any sort of parallel 
between the public merits of his Grace, by which he 
justifies the grants he holds, and these services of 
mine, on the favorable construction of which I have 
obtained what his Grace so much disapproves. In 
private life I have not at all the honor of acquaint- 
ance with the noble Duke ; but I ought to presume, 
and it costs me nothing to do so, that he abundantly 
deserves the esteem and love of all who live with 
him. But as to public service, why, truly, it would 
not be more ridiculous for me to compare myself, 
in rank, in fortune, in splendid descent, in youth, 
strength, or figure, with the Duke of Bedford, than 
to make a parallel between his services and my at- 
tempts to be useful to my country. It would not 
be gross adulation, but uncivil irony, to say that 
he has any public merit of his own to keep alive 
the idea of the services by which his vast landed 



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LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD 



pensions were obtained. My merits, whatever they 
are, are original and personal: his are derivative. 
It is his ancestor, the original pensioner, that has 
laid up this inexhaustible fund of merit which makes 
his Grace so very delicate and exceptions about tlie 
merit of all other grantees of the crown. Had ho 
permitted me to remain in quiet, I sh-. ild have said, 
"'Tis his estate: that's enough. It i- his bylaw: 
what have I to do with it or its histor " He would 
naturaUy have said, on his side, " 'Tis u.is man's for- 
tune. He is as good now as my ancestor was two 
hundred and fifty years ago. I am a young man 
with very old pensions ; he is an old man with very 
young pensions- that's all." 

Why will his Grace, by attacking me, force me 
reluctantly to compare my little merit with that 
which obtained from the crown those prodigies of 
profuse donation by which he tramples on the medi- 
ocrity of humble and laborious individuals ? I would 
willingly leave him to the Herald's College, which 
the pliilosophy of the sans-culottes (prouder by far 
than all the Garters, and Norroys, and Clarencieux, 
and Rouge-Dragons that ever pranced in a procession' 
of what his friends call aristocrats and despots) will 
abolish with contumely and scorn. These historians, 
recorders, and blazoners of virtues and arms differ 
wholly from that other description of historians who 
never assign any act of politicians to a good motive. 
These gentle historians, on the contrary, dip their 
pens in nothing but the milk of human kindness. 
They seek no further for merit than the preamble 
of a patent or tlie inscription on a tomb. With them 
every man created a peer is first an hero ready-made. 
They judge of every man's capacity for office by the 



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201 



oflSces he has filled ; and the more offices, the more 
ability. Every general oflBcer with them is a Marl- 
borough, every statesman a Burleigh, every judge a 
Murray or a Yorke. They who, alive, were laughed 
at or pitied by all their acquaintance make as good 
a figure as the best of them in the pages of Guillim, 
Edmondson, and Collins. 

To these recorders, so full of good-nature to the 
great and prosperous, I would willingly leave the 
first Baron Russell and Earl of ' "d, and the 
merits of his grants. But the aulnu j weigher, 

the meter of grants will not suffer . ^o acquiesce 
in the judgment of the prince reigning at the time 
when they were made. They are never good to 
those who earn them. Well, then, since the new 
grantees have war made on them by the old, and 
that the word of the sovereign is not to be taken, 
let us turn our eyes to history, in which great men 
have always a pleasure in contemplating the heroic 
origin of their house. 

The first peer of the name, the first purchaser of 
the grants, was a Mr. Russell, a person of an ancient 
gentleman's family, raised by being a minion of 
Henry the Eighth. As there generally is some re- 
semblance of character to create these relations, the 
favorite was in all likelihood much such another as 
his master. The first of those immoderate grants 
was not taken from the ancient demesne of the 
crown, but from the recent confiscation ..'' the an- 
cient nobility of the land. The lion, having sucked 
the blood of his prey, thr^w the ofial carcass to 
the jackal in waiting. Having tasted once the food 
of confiscation, the favorites became fierce and rav- 
ei ous. This worthy favorite's first grant was from 



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the lay nobility. The second, infinitely improving 
on the enormity of the first, was from the plunder 
of the Church. lu truth, his Grace is somewhat 
excusable for his dislike to a grant like mine, not 
only in its quauMty, but in its kind, so different 
from his own. 

Mine was from a mild and benevolent sovereign : 
his from Ho- the Eighth. 

Mine had not its fund in the murder of any in- 
nocent persoi of illustrious rank,* or in the pillage 
of any body o^ unoffending men. His grants were 
from the aggregate and consolidated fund- of judg- 
ments iniquitously legal, and from possessions volun- 
tarily surrendered by the lawful proprietors with the 
gibbet at their door. 

The merit oi the grantee whom he derives from 
was that of being a prompt and greedy instrument 
of a levelUnff tyrant, who oppressed all descriptions 
of his people, but who fell with particular fury on 
everything that was great and noble. Mine has been 
in endeavoring to screen every man, in eve.y class, 
from oppression, and particularly in defending tho 
high and eminent, who, in the bad times of confis- 
cating princes, confiscating chief governors, or confis- 
cating demagogues, are the most exposed to jealousy, 
avarice, and envy. 

The merit of the original grantee of his Grace's 
pensions was in giving his hand to the work, and 
partaking the spoil, with a prince who plundered 
a part of the national Church of liis time and coun- 
try. Mine was in defending the whole of the nation- 
al Church of my own time and my own country, 

• See the history of the melancholy catastrophe of the Duke of 
Buckingham. Temp. Hen. VUL 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON mS PENSION. 



203 



and the whole of the national Churches of all coun- 
tries, from the principles and the examples which 
lead to ecclesiastical pillage, thence to a contempt 
of all prescriptive titles, thence to the pillage of all 
property, and tlience to universal desolation. 

Tlie merit of the origin of his Grace's fortune was 
in being a favorite and chief adviser to a prince who 
left no liberty to their native country. My endeavor 
was to obtain liberty for the municipal country in 
which I was born, and for all descriptions and de- 
nominations in it. Mine was to support with unre- 
laxing vigilance every right, every privilege, every 
franchise, in this my adopted, my dearer, and more 
comprehensive country ; and not only to preserve 
those rights in this chief seat of empire, but in every 
nation, in every laud, in every climate, language, and 
religion, in the vast domain that still is under the 
protection, and the larger that was once under the 
protection, of the British crown. 

His fomider's merits were, by arts in which he 
served his master and made his fortune, to bring 
poverty, wretchedness, and depopulation on his coun- 
try. Mine were under a benevolent prince, in pro- 
moting the commerce, manufactures, and agriculture 
of his kingdom, — in which his Majesty sh^ws an 
eminent example, who even in his amusements is 
a patriot, and in hours of leisure an improver of his 
native soil. 

His founder's merit was the merit of a gentleman 
raised by the arts of a court and tiie protection of 
a Wolsey to the eminence of a great and potent 
lord. His merit in that eminence was, by insti- 
gating a tyrant to injustice, to provoke a people 
to rebellion. My merit was, to awaken the sober 



m 



i 



life 



204 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LOBD 



part of the country, that they might put themselves 
on their guard against any one potent lord, or any 
greater number of potent lords, or any combination 
of great leading men of any sort, if ever they sliould 
attempt to proceed in the same courses, but in the 
reverse order, — that is, by instigating a corrupted 
populace to rebellion, and, through that rebellion, 
introducing a tyranny yet worse than the tyranny 
which his Grace's ancestor supported, and of which 
he profited in the manner we behold in the despotism 
of Henry the Eighth. 

The political merit of tlie first pensioner of hia 
Grace's house was that of being concerned as a 
counsellor of state in advising, and in his person 
executing, the conditions of a dishonorable peace 
with France, — the surrendering the fortress of Bou- 
logne, then our outguard on the Contuient. By 
thet surrender, Calais, the key of Prance, and the 
bridle in the mouth of that power, was not many 
years afterwards finally lost. My merit has been 
in resisting the power and pride of Prance, under 
any form of its rule; but in opposing it with the 
greatest zeal and earnestness, when that rule ap- 
peared in the worst form it could assume, — the 
worst, mdeed, which the prime cause and principle 
of all evil could possibly give it. It was my endeav- 
or by every means to excite a spirit in the House, 
where I had the honor of a seat, for carrying on with 
early vigor and decision tlie most clearly just and 
necessary war that this or any nation ever carried 
on, in order to save my country from the iron yoke 
of its power, and from the more dreadful conta- 
gion of its principles, — to preserve, while they can 
be preserved, pure and untainted, the ancient, in- 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON fflS PENSION. 



205 



bred integrity, piety, good-nature, and good-humor of 
the people of England, from the dreadful pestilence 
which, beginning in Prance, threatens to lay waste 
the whole moral and in a great degree the whole 
physical world, having done both in the focus of its 
most intense malignity. 

The labors of his Grace's founder merited the 
" curses, not loud, but deep," of the Commons of 
England, on whom he and his master had effected 
a complete Parliamentary Reform, by making them, 
in their slavery and humiliation, the true and ade- 
quate representatives of a debased, degraded, and 
undone people. My merits were in having had an 
active, though not always an ostentatious share, in 
every one act, without exception, of undisputed con- 
stitutional utility in my time, and in having sup- 
ported, on all occasions, the authority, the efficiency, 
and the privileges of the Commons of Great Britain. 
I ended my services by a recorded and fully reasoned 
assertion on their own journals of their constitutional 
rights, and a vindication of their constitutional con- 
duct. I labored in all things to merit their inward 
approbation, and (along with the assistants of the 
largest, the greatest, and best of my endeavors) I re- 
ceived their free, unbiased, public, and solemn thanks. 

Thus stands the account of the comparative merits 
of the crown grants which compose the Duke of Bed- 
ford's fortune as balantec against mine. In the name 
of common sense, why should the Duke of Bedford 
think that none but of the House of Russell are en- 
titled to the favor of the crown? Why should he 
imagine that no king of England has been capable 
of judging of merit but King Henry the Eighth ? In- 
deed, he will pardon me, he is a little mistaken : all 



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206 



LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD 



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virtue did not end in the first Earl of Bedford ; all 
discernment did not lose its vision when his creator 
closed his eyes. Let him remit his rigor on the 
disproportion between merit and reward in others, 
and they will make no inquiry into the origin of his' 
fortune. They will regard with much more satis- 
faction, as he will contemplate with infinitely more 
advantage, whatever in his pedigree has been dulci- 
fied by an exposure to the influence of heaven in a 
long flow of generations from the hard, acidulous, 
metallic tincture of the spring. It is little to be 
doubted that several of his forefathers in that long 
series have degenerated into honor and virtue. Let 
the Duko of Bedford (I am sure he will) reject with 
scorn and horror the counsels of the lecturers, those 
wicked panders to avarice and ambition, wlio would 
tempt him, in the troubles of his country, to seek 
anotlier enormous fortune from the forfeitures of 
another nobility and the plunder of another Church. 
Let him (and I trust that yet he will) employ all the 
energy of his youth and all the resources of his 
wealth to crush rebellious principles which have no 
foundation in morals, and rebellious movements that 
have no provocation in tyranny. 

Then will be forgot the rebellions whicli, by a 
doubtful priority in crime, his ancestor had provoked 
and extinguished. On such a conduct in the noble 
Duke, many of his countrymen might, and with some 
excuse might, give way to the enthusiasm of their 
gratitude, and, in the dashing style <-'' some of the 
old declaimers, cry out, that, if the Fates had found 
no other way in which they could give a* Duke of 
Bedford and his opulence as props to a tottering 
• At 8i pon aliam venturo fata Neroni, etc. 



msm 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



207 






world, then the butchery of the Duke of Buckingham 
might be tolerated ; it might be regarded even with 
complaoency, whilst in the heir of confiscation they 
saw the sympathizing comforter of the martyrs who 
suffer under the cruel confiscation of this day, whilst 
they beheld with admiration his zealous protection 
of the virtuous and loyal nobility of France, and his 
manly support of his brethren, the yet standing no- 
bility and gentry of his native land. Then his Grace's 
merit would be pure and new and sharp, as fresh 
from the mint of honor. As he pleased, he might 
reflect honor on his predecessors, or throw it forward 
on those who were to succeed him. He might be 
the propagator of the stock of honor, o. the root of 
it, as he thought proper. 

Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes 
of succession, I should have been, according to my 
mediocrity and the mediocrity of the age I live in. 
a sort of founder of a family : I should have left a 
son, wlio, in all the points in which personal merit 
can be viewed, in science, in erudition, in genius, in 
taste, in honor, in generosity, in humanity, in every 
liberal sentiment and every liberal accomplishment, 
would not have shown himself inferior to the Duke 
of Bedford, or to any of those whom he traces in his 
line. His Grace very soon would have wanted all 
plausibility in his attack upon that provision which 
belonged more to mine than to me. He would soon 
have supplied every deficiency, and symmetrized every 
disproportion. It would not have been for that suc- 
cessor to resort to any stagnant, wasting reservoir of 
merit in me, or in any ancestry. He had in himself a 
salient, living spring of generous and manly action. 
Every day he lived he would have repurchased the 



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208 



LITTSR TO A NOBLE LORD 




bounty of the crown, and ten tinnes more, if ten times 
more he had received. He was made a public crea- 
ture, and had no enjoyment whatever but in the per- 
formance of some duty. At this exigent moment the 
loss of a finished man is not easily supplied. 

But a Disposer whoso power v ^ are little able to 
resist, and whose wisdom it Ish i us not at all 
to dispute, has ordained it in another manner, and 
(whatever my querulous weakness might suggest) a 
far better. The storm has gone over me ; and I lie 
like one of those old oaks which the late hurricane 
has scattered about me. I am stripped of all my 
honors, I am torn up by the roots, and lie prostrate 
on the earth. There, and prostrate there, I most un- 
feigned'y recognize the Divine justice, and in some 
degree submit to it. But whilst I humble myself 
before God, I do not know that it is forbidden to 
repel the attacks of imjust and inconsiderate men, 
The patience of Job is proverbial. After some of the 
convulsive straggles of our irritable nature, he sub- 
mitted himself, and repented in dust and ashes. But 
even so, I do not find him blamed for reprehending, 
and with a considerable degree of verbal asperity, 
those ill-natured neighbors of his who visited his 
dunghill to read moral, political, and economical 
lectures on his misery. I am alone. I have none 
to meet my enemies in the gate. Indeed, my Lord, 
I greatly deceive myself, if in this hard season I 
would give a peck of refuse wheat for all that is 
called fame and honor in the world. This is tb3 
appetite but of a few. It is a luxury, it is a privi- 
lege, it is an indulgence for those who are at their 
ease. But we are all of us made to shun disgrace, 
as we are made to shrink from pain and poverty 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON mS PENSION. 



209 



and disease. It is an instinct ; and under the direc- 
tion of reason, instinct is always in the right. I live 
in an inverted order. They who ought to have suc- 
ceeded me are gone before me. Tlioy who should 
have been to me as posterity are in tlio place of 
ancestors. I owe to the dearest relation (which ever 
must subsist in memory) that act of piety which ho 
would have performed to me : I owe it to him to 
show that he was not descended, as the Duke of Bed- 
ford would have it, from an unworthy parent. 

The crown has considered me after long service : 
the crown has paid the Duke of Bedford by advance. 
He has had a long credit for any service which he 
may perform hereafter. He is secure, and long may 
he be secure, in his advance, whether he performs 
any services or not. But let him take care how ho 
endangers the safety of that Constitution wliich se- 
cures his own utility or his own insignificance, or 
how he discourages those who take up even puny 
arms to defend an order of things which like the 
sun of heaven, shines alike on the useiiu and t>io 
worthless. His grants are ingrafted on the public 
law of Europe, covered witli the awful hoar of innu- 
merable ages. They are guarded by the sacred rules 
of prescription, found in that full treasury of juris- 
prudence from which the jejuneness and penury of 
our municipal law has by degrees been enriched and 
strengthened. This prescription I had my share (a 
very full share) in bringing to its perfection.* The 
Duke of Bedford will stand as long as prescriptive 
law endures, — as long a-i the gi-eat, stable laws of 
property, common to us with all civilized nations, are 
kept in their integrity, and without the smallest in- 

• Sir George Savlle's act, called The Xullum Tcmput Act. 



VOL. V. 



14 






1^ 



I 



n 



210 



LKTTEB TO A NOBLE LOBD 



termixture of the laws, maxims, principles, cv pre- 
cedents of the Grand Revolution. They are secure 
against all changes but one. Tlie whole Revolution- 
ary system, institutes, digest, code, novels, text, gloss, 
comment, are not only not the same, but they arc the 
very reverse, and the reverse fundamentally, of all 
the laws on which civil life has hitherto been upheld 
in all the governments of the world. The learned 
professors of the Rights of Man regard prescription 
not as a title to bar all claim set up against old pos- 
session, but they look on prescription as itself a bar 
against the possessor and proprietor. They hold an 
immemorial possession to be no more than a long 
continued and therefore an aggravated injustice. 

Sucli are their ideas, such their religion, and such 
their law. But as to our country and our race, as 
long as the well-compacted structure of our Church 
and State, the sanctuary, the holy of holies of that 
ancient law, defended by reverence, defended by 
power, a fortress at once and a temple,* shall stand 
inviolate on the brow of the British Sion, — as long 
as the British monarchy, not more limited than 
fenced by the orders of the state, shall, like the 
proud Keep of Windsor, rising in the majesty of 
proportion, and girt with the double belt of its kin- 
dred and coeval towers, as long as this awful struc- 
ture shall oversee and guard tlie subjected land, — 
so long the mounds and dikes of the low, fat, Bed- 
ford level will have nothing to fear from all the pick- 
axes of all the levellers of France. As long as our 
sovereign lord the king, and his faitliful subjects, the 
lords and commons of this realm, — tlie triple cord 
which no man can break, — the solemn, sworn, con- 

* " Tcmplnm in modom arda." — Tacitus, of the temple of Jeru- 
salem. 






g*gF*Bf ^~rLr"Off 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSK.N. 



^11 



1 



etitutional frank-pledgo of this natioi — . ,irm 
guaranties of each other's being iv uach other's 
rights, — the joint and several securities, each in 
its place and order, for every kind and every qual- 
ity of property and of disunity, — as long as these 
endure, so long the Duku of Bedford is safe, and 
■wo are all safe together, — the high from the l.lights 
of envy and the spoliations of rapacity, the low from 
the iron hand of oppression and the insolent spurn 
of contempt. Amen! and so be it! and so it will 
be, — 

Dnm domns ^nca Capitoli immobile snxum 
Accolet, iraperiumqno pater Roraanus hal)cbit. 

But if the rude inroad of Gallic tumult, with its 
sophistical rights of man to falsify the accuuiit, and 
its sword as a make-weight to throw into the scale, 
shall bo introduced into our city by a misguided 
populace, set on by proud great men, themselves 
blinded and intoxicated by a frantic ambition, we 
shall all of us perish and be overwhelmed in a com- 
mon ruin. If a great storm blow on our coast, it 
will cast the whales on the strand, as well as the 
periwinkles. His Grace will not survive the poor 
grantee he despises, — no, not for a twelvemonth. 
If the great look for safety in the services they ren- 
der to this Gallic cause, it is to be foolish even above 
the weight of privilege allowed to wealth. If his 
Grace be one of tliese whom they endeavor to pros- 
elytize, he ought to be aware of the character of tho 
sect whose doctrines he is invited to embrace. With 
them insurrection is the most sacred of revolutionary 
duties to tho state. Ingratitude to benefactors is tho 
first of revolutionary virtues. Ingratitude is, indeed, 
their four cardinal virtues compacted and amalga- 



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212 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LOBD 



mated into one ; and he will find it in everything 
that has happened since the commencement of tho 
philosophic Revolution to this hour. If he pleads 
the merit of having performed the duty of insur- 
rection against the order he lives in, (God forbid he 
ever should!) the merit of others will be to per- 
form the duty of insurrection against him. If he 
pleads (again God forbid he should, and I do not 
suspect he will) his ingratitude to the crown for 
its creation of his family, others will plead their 
right and duty to pay him in kind. They will 
laugh, indeed they will laugh, at his parchment 
and his wax. His deeds will be drawn out with 
the rest of the lumber of his evidence-room, and 
burnt to the tune of ^a ira in the courts of Bed- 
ford (then Equality) House. 

Am I to blame, if I attempt to pay his Grace's 
hostile reproaches to me with a friendly admonition 
to himself? Can I be blamed for pointing out to him 
in what manner he is like to be affected, if the sect 
of the cannibal philosophers of Prance should prose- 
lytize any considerable part of this people, and, by 
their joint proselytizing arms, should conquer that 
government to which his Grace does not seem to me 
to give all the support his own security demands? 
Surely it is proper that he, and that others like liim, 
should know the true genius of this sect, — what 
their opinions are, — what they have done, and to 
whom, — and what (if a prognostic i? to be formed 
from the dispositions and actions of men) it is cer- 
tain they will do hereafter. He ought to know that 
they have sworn assistance, the only engagement 
they ever will keep, to all in this country who bear a 
resemblance to themselves, and who think, as such, 



M 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



218 



that the whole duty of man consists in destruction. 
They are a misallied and disparaged branch of the 
House of Nimrod. They are the Duke of Bedford's 
natural hunters ; and he is their natural game. Be- 
cause he is not very profoundly reflecting, he sleeps 
in profound security : they, on the contrary, are 
always vigilant, active, enterprising, and, though far 
removed from any knowledge which makes men 
estimable or useful, in all the instruments and re- 
sources of evil their leaders are not meanly instruct- 
ed or insufficiently furnished. In the French Revolu- 
tion everything is new, and, from want of preparation 
to meet so unlooked-for an evil, everything is dan- 
gerous. Never before this time was a set of literary 
men converted into a gang of robbers and assassins ; 
never before did a den of bravoes and banditti as- 
sume the garb and tone of an academy of philoso 
phers. 

Let me tell his Grace, that an union of such char- 
acters, monstrous as it seems, is not made for pro- 
ducing despicable enemies. But if they are formida- 
ble as foes, as friends they are dreadful indeed. The 
men of property in Prance, confiding in a force 
which seemed to be irresistible because it had never 
been tried, neglected to prepare for a conflict with 
their enemies at their own weapons. They were 
found in such a situation as the Mexicans were, 
when they were attacked by the dogs, the cavalry, 
the iron, and the gunpowder of an handful of bearded 
men, whom they did not know to exist in Nature. 
This is a comparison that some, I think, have made ; 
and it is just. In France they had their enemies 
within their houses. They were even in the bosoms 
of many of them. But they had not sagacity to dis 



11 



214 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LORD 



'11 



I 






cem their savage character. They seemed tame, 
and even caressing. They had nothing but douce 
huma7iite in their mouth. They could not bear the 
punishment of the mildest laws on the greatest crim- 
inals. The slightest severity of justice made their 
flesh creep. The very idea that war existed in the 
world disturbed theu: repose. Military glory was no 
more, with them, than a splendid iniam':' Hardly 
would they hear of self-defence, which (iiey reduced 
within such bounds as to leave it no defence at all. 
All this while they meditated the confiscations and 
massacres we have seen. Had any one told these 
unfortunate noblemen and gentlemen how and by 
whom the grand fabric of the French monarchy 
under which they flourished would be subverted, 
they would not have pitied him as a visionary, but 
would have turned from him as what they call a maw' 
vaia plaisant. Yet we have seen what has happened. 
The persons who have suffered from the cannibal 
philosophy of France are so like the Duke of Bed- 
ford, that nothing but his Grace's probably not 
speaking quite so good French could enable us to 
find out any difference. A great many of them had 
as pompous titles as he, and were of full as illustrious 
a race; some few of them had fortunes as ample; 
several of them, without meaning the least disparage- 
ment to the Duke of Bedford, were as wise, and as 
virtuous, and as valiant, and as well educated, and 
as complete in all the lineaments of men of honor, as 
he is ; and to all this they had added the powerful 
outg'iard of a military profession, which, in its na- 
ture, renders men somewhat more cautious than 
those who have nothing to attend to but the lazy 
enjoyment of undisturbed possessions. But security 



If i 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON mS PENSION. 



215 



was their ruin. They are dashed to pieces in the 
storm, and our shores are covered with the wrecks. 
If they had been aware that such a thing might hap- 
pen, such a thing never could have happened. 

I assure his Grace, that, if I state to him the de- 
signs of his enemies in a manner which may appear 
to him ludicrous and impossible, I tell him nothing 
that has not exactly happened, point by point, but 
twenty-four miles from our own shore. I assure 
him that the Frenchified faction, more encouraged 
than others are warned by what has happened in 
France, look at him and his landed possessions as 
an object at once of curiosity and rapacity. He is 
made for them in every part of their double charac- 
ter. As robbers, to them he is a noble booty; as 
speculatists, he is " glorious subject for their experi- 
mental philosop^ He affords matter for an exten- 
sive analysis " .<\ ' r^ branches of their science, geo- 
metrical, phy ,' nvil, and political. These phi- 
losophers are ;. ...js: independent of any interest, 
which, if it operated alone, would make them much 
more tractable, they are carried with such an head- 
long rage towards every desperate trial that they 
would sacrifice the whole human race to tlie slight- 
est of their experiments. I am better able to enter 
ir.io the character of this description of men than the 
noble Duke can be. I have lived long and variously 
in the world. Without any considerable pretensions 
to literature in myself, I have aspired to the love of 
letters. I have lived for a great many years in habi- 
tudes with those who professed them. I can form a 
tolerable estimate of what is likely to happen from a 
character chiefly dependent for fame and fortune on 
knowledge and talent, as well in its morbid and per- 



m^ 



216 



LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD 



I' 




verted state as in that which is sound and natural. 
Naturally, men so formed and finished are the first 
gifts of Providence to the world. But when they 
have once thrown off the fear of God, which was in 
aU ages too often the case, and the fear of man, 
which is now the case, and when in that state they 
come to understard one another, and to act in corps, 
a more dreadful c ilamity cannot arise out of hell to 
scourge mankind. Nothing can be conceived more 
hard than the heart of a thorough-bred metaphysi- 
cian. It comes nearer to the ccld malignity of a 
wicked spirit th&n to the frailty and passion of a 
man. It is like that of the Principle o' Evii him- 
self, incorporeal, pure, unmixed, dephlegmated, def- 
ecated evil. It is no easy operation to eradicate hu- 
manity from the human breast. What Shakspeare 
calls the " compunctious visitings of Nature " will 
sometimes knock at their hearts, and protest against 
their murderous speculations. But they have a 
means of compounding with their nature. Their hu- 
manity is not dissolved ; they only give it a long pro- 
rogation. They are ready to declare that they do not 
think two thousand years too long a period for the 
good that they pursue. It is remarkable that they 
never see any way to their projected good but by the 
road of some evil. Their imagination is not fatigued 
with the contemplation of human suffering tlirough 
the wild waste of centuries added to centuries of 
misery and desolation. Their humanity is at their 
horizon,— and, like the horizon, it always flies be- 
fore them. The geometricians and the chemists 
bring, the one from the dry bones of their diagrams, 
and the other from the soot of their furnaces, dispo- 
sitions that make them worse than indifferent about 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



217 



those feelings and habitudes which are the supports 
of the moral world. Ambition is come upon them 
suddenly; they are intoxicated with it, and it has 
rendered them fearless of the danger which may 
from thence arise to others or to themselves. These 
philosophers consider men in their experiments no 
more than they do mice in an air-pump or in a recip- 
ient of mephitic gas. Whatever his Grace may think 
of himself, they look upon him, and everything that 
belongs to him, with no more regard than they do 
upon the whiskers of that little long-tailed animal 
that has been long the game of the grave, demure, 
insidious, spring-nailed, velvet-pawed, green-eyed phi- 
losophers, whether going upon two legs or upon four. 
His Grace's landed possessions are irresistibly in- 
viting to an agrarian experiment. They are a down- 
right insult upon the rights of man. They are more 
extensive than the territory of many of the Grecian 
republics; and they are without comparison more 
fertile than most of them. There are now republics 
in Italy, in Germany, and in Switzerland, which do 
not possess anything like so fair and ample a domain. 
There is scope for seven philosophers to proceed in 
their analytical experiments upon Harrington's seven 
different forms of republics, in the acres of this one 
Duke. Hitherto they have been wholly unproduo- 
tive to speculation, — fitted for nothing but to fatten 
bullocks, and to produce grain for beer, still more 
to stupefy the dull English understanding. Abb^ 
SieySs has whole nests of pigeon-holes full of con- 
stitutions ready-made, ticketed, sorted, and number- 
ed, suited to every season and every fancy : some 
with the top of the pattern at the bottom, and some 
with the bottom at ihe top ; some plain, some flow- 



218 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LOBD 



iff 



' 1. 



it 



u 



u 



i 



eired ; some distinguished for their simplicity, others 
for their complexity ; some of blood color, some of 
boue de Paris; some with directories, others with- 
out a direction ; some with councils of elders and 
councils of youngsters, some without any council at 
all ; some where the electors choose the representa- 
tives, others where the representatives choose the elec- 
tors ; some in long coats, and some in short cloaks ; 
some with pantaloons, some without breeches ; some 
with five-shilling qualifications, some totally unqual- 
ified. So that no constitution-fancier may go un- 
suited from his shop, provided he loves a pattern 
of pillage, oppression, arbitrary imprisonment, con- 
fiscation, exile, revolutionary judgment, and legalized 
premeditated murder, in any shapes into which they 
can be put. What a pity it is that the progress of 
experimental philosophy should be checked by his 
Grace's monopoly! Such are their sentiments, I 
assure nim ; such is their language, wlien they dare 
to speak ; and such are their proceedings, when they 
have the means to act. 

Their geographers and geometricians have been 
some time out of practice. It is some time since they 
have divided tlieir own country into squares. That 
figure has lost the charms of its novelty. They want 
new lands for new trials. It is not only the geome- 
tricians of the Republic that find him a good subject : 
the chemists have bespoke him, after the geometri- 
cians have done with him. As the first set have an 
eye on his Grace's lands, the chemists are not less 
taken with his buildings. They consider mortar as a 
very anti-revolutionary invention, in its present state, 
but, properly employed, an admirable material for 
overturning all establishments. They have found that 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



219 



the gunpowder of ruins is far the fittest for makiug 
other ruins, and so ad infinitum. They have calcu- 
lated what quantity of matter convertible into nitre 
is to be found in Bedford House, in Woburn Abbey, 
and in what his Grace and his trustees have still 
suffered to stand of that foolish royalist, Inigo Jones, 
in Covent Garden. Churches, play-houses, coffee- 
houses, all alike, are destined to ba mu)j'od, and 

equalized, and blended into one common rubbish, 

and, well sifted, and lixiviated, to crystallize into true, 
democratic, explosive, insurrectionary nitre. Their 
Academy dd Cimetito, (^per antiphrasin,') with Mor- 
veau and Hassenfratz at its head, have compiited that 
the brave sans-culottea may make war on all the aris- 
tocracy of Europe for a twelvemonth out of the rub- 
bish of the Duke of Bedford's buildings.* 

• There is nothing on which the leaders of the Kepublic one and 
indivisible value themselves more than on the chemical operations by 
which, throagh science, they convert the pride of aristocracy to an in- 
strument of its own destruction, — on the operations by which they re- 
duce the magnificent ancient country-seats of the nobility, decorated 
with the feudal titles of Duke, Marquis, or Earl, into magazines of 
what they call revolutionary gunpowder. They tell us, that hitherto 
things " had not yet been properly and in a revolutionary manner ex- 
plored." — " The strong chateaus, those feudal fortresses, that vxre or- 
dered to be demolished, attracted next the attention of your committee. 
Nature there had secretly regained her rights, and had produced salt- 
petre, for the purpose, as it should seem, of facilitating the execution of 
your decree by preparing the means of destruction. From these ruins, which 
still frown on the liberties of the Republic, we have extracted the means 
of producing good ; and those piles which have hitherto glutted th« 
pride of despots, and covered the plots of La Vend(<e, will soon furnish 
wherewithal to tame the traitors and to overwhelm the disaffected." 
— " The rebellious cities, also, have afforded a large quantity of salt- 
petre. Commune Affranchie " (that is, the noble city of Lyons, reduced 
in many parts to an heap of ruins) " and Toulon will pay a second 
tribute to our artillery." —Report, 1st February, 1794. 



220 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LOBO 



h 




While the Moireaux and Priestleys are proceeding 
with these experiments upon the Duke of Bedford's 
houses, the Sieyds, and the rest of the analytical legis- 
lators and constitution-venders, are quite as busy in 
their trade (rf decomposing organization, in forming 
his Grace's vassals into primary assemblies, nationd 
guards, first, second, and third requisitiouers, com- 
mittees of research, conductors of the travelling guil- 
lotine, judges of revolutionary tribunals, legislative 
hangmen, supervisors of domiciliary visitation, exact- 
ors of forced loans, and assessors of the maximum. 

The din of all this smithery may some time or other 
possibly wake this noble Duke, and push him to an 
endeavor to save some little matter from their experi- 
mental philosophy. If he pleads his grants from the 
crown? he is ruined at the outset. If he pleads he has 
received them from the pillage of superstitious corpo- 
rations, this indeed will stagger them a little, because 
they are enemies to all corporations and to all religion. 
However, they will soon recover themselves, and will 
tell his Grace, or his learned council, that all such 
property belongs to the nation, — and that it would 
be more wise for him, if he wishes to live the natural 
term of a citizen, (that is, according to Condorcet's 
calculation, six months on an average,) not to pass 
for an usurper upon the national property. This is 
what the «e?^'eanta-at-law of the rights of man will say 
to the puny apprentices of the common law of Eng- 
land. 

Is the genius of philosophy not yet known ? You 
may as well think the garden of the Tuileries was 
well protected with the cords of ribbon insultingly 
stretched by the National Assembly to keep the sov- 
ereign canaille from intruding on the retirement of 



mm 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON fflS PENSION. 



221 



the poor King of the French as that such flimsy cob- 
webs will stand between the savages of the Revolution 
and their natural prey. Deep philosophers are no 
triflers; brave aang-culottea are no formalists. They 
will no more regard a Marquis of Tavistock than an 
Abbot of Tavistock ; the Lord of Woburn will not be 
more respectable in their eyes than the Prior of Wo- 
burn ; they will make no difference between the su- 
perior of a Covent Garden of nuns and of a Covent 
Garden of another description. They will not care a 
rush whether his coat is long or short, — whether the 
color bo purple, or blue and buflf. They will not 
trouble their heads with what part of his head his hair 
is cut from ; and they will look with equal respect on 
a tonsure and a crop. Their only question will be 
that of their Legendre, or some other of their legisla- 
tive butchers: How he cuts up; how he tallows in 
the caul or on the kidneys. 

Is it not a singular phenomenon, that, whilst the 
sans-culotte carcass-butchers and the philosophers of 
the shambles are pricking their dotted lines upon his 
hide, and, like the print of the poor ox that we see 
in the shop-windows at Charing Cross, alive as he 
is, and thinking no harm in the world, he is divided 
into rumps, and sirloins, and briskets, and into all 
sorts of pieces for roasting, boiling, and stewing, that, 
all the while they are measuring him, his Grace is 
measuring me, — is invidiously comparing the bounty 
of the crown with the deserts of the defender of his 
order, and in the same moment fawning on those 
who have the knife half out of the sheath? Poor 
innocent ! 

"Pleased to the last, he crops the flowery food. 
And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood." 



i\- 



i 



r 



222 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LORD 



"it* 



f 



No man lives too long who lives to do with spirit 
and suffer with resignation what Providence pleases 
to command or inflict; but, indeed, thoy are sharp 
incommodities which beset old age. It was but the 
other day, that, on putting in order some tilings 
which had been brought here, on my taking leave 
of London forever, I looked over a number of fine 
portraits, most of them of persons now dead, but 
whose society, in my better days, made this a proud 
and happy place. Amongst these was the picture of 
Lord Keppel. It was painted by an artist worthy of 
the subject, the excellent friend of that excellent man 
from their earliest youth, and a common friend of us 
both, with whom we lived for many years without a 
moment of coldness, of peevishness, of jealousy, or of 
jar, to the day of our final separation. 

I ever looked on Lord Keppel as one of the great- 
est and best men of his age, and I loved and culti- 
vated him accordingly. He was much in my heart, 
and I believe I was in his to the very last beat. It 
was after his trial at Portsmouth that he gave me 
this picture. "With what zeal anc. tnxious affection 
I attended him through that his agony of glory, — 
what part my son, in the early flush and enthusi- 
asm of his virtue, and the pious passion with which 
he attached himself to all my connections, — with 
what prodigality we both squandered ourselves in 
courting almost every sort of enmity for his sake, I 
believe he felt, just as I should have felt such friend- 
ship on such an occasion. I partook, indeed, of this 
honor with several of the first and best and ablest 
in the kingdom, but I was behindhand with none of 
them ; and I am sure, that, if, to the eternal disgrace 
of this nation, and to the total annihilation of every 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



22S 



trace of honor and virtue in it, things had taken a 
different turn from what thej did, I should have at- 
tended him to the quarter-deck with no less good-will 
and more pride, though with far other feelings, than 
I partook of the general flow of national joy that 
attended the justice that was done to his virtue. 

Pardon, my Lord, the feeble garrulity of age, 
which loves to diffuse itself in discourse of the de- 
parted great. At my years we live in retrospect 
alone ; and, wholly unfitted for the society of vig- 
orous life, we enjoy, the best balm to all wounds, 
the consolation of friendship, in those only whom 
we have lost forever. Feeling the loss of Lord 
Keppel at all times, at no time did I feel it so 
much as on the fire, day when I was attacked in 
the House of Lords. 

Had he lived, that reverend form would have risen 
in its place, and, with a mild, parental reprehension 
to his nephew, the Duke of Bedford, ho would have 
told him that the favor of that gracious prince who 
had honored his virtues with the government of the 
navy of Great Britain, and with a seat in the heredi- 
tary great council of his kingdom, was not undeserv- 
edly shown to the friend of the best portion of his 
life, and his faithful companion and counsellor under 
his rudest trials. He would have told him, that, to 
whomever else these reproaches might be becoming, 
they were not decorous in his near kindred. He 
would have told him, that, when men in that rank 
lose decorum, they lose everything. 

On that day I had a loss in Lord Keppel. But the 
public loss of him in tliis awful crisis! — I speak 
from much knowledge of the person : he never would 
have listened to any compromise with the rabble rout 



224 



LETTER TO A NOBLE I iX) 



^ 



of 

Ills 



of this $an»-€ulotterie of France. H s goo<lue 
heart, his reason, his taste, his public f1«it; 
principles, his prejuilices, would havo repelled liim 
forever from all connection with that horrid medley 
of madness, vice, impioty, and crime. 

Lord Keppel had two countries : one of descent, 
and one of birth. Their interest and their glory are 
the same ; and his mind was capacious of both. His 
family was noble, and it was Dutch : that is, ho was 
of the oldest and purest nobility that Europe can 
boast, among a people renowned above all others 
for love of their native land. Though it was never 
shown in insult to any human being. Lord Keppel 
w^as something high. It was a wild stock of pride, 
on which the tenderest of all hearts had grafted the 
milder virtues. Ho valued ancient nobility ; and he 
was not disinclined to augment it with new honors. 
He valued the old nobility and the new, not as an ex- 
cuse for inglorious sloth, but as an incitement to vir- 
tuous activity. He considered it as a sort of cure for 
selfishness and a narrow mind, — conceiving that a 
man born in an elevated place in himself was nothing, 
but everything in what went before and what was to 
come after him. Without much speculation, but by 
the sure instinct of ingenuous feelings, and by the 
dictates of plain, unsophisticated, natural understand- 
ing, he felt that no great commonwealth could by any 
possibility long subsist without a body -ome kind 
or other of nobility decorated with hoiiui and forti- 
fied by privilege. This nobility forms tlie chain that 
connects the ages of a nation, which othorvise (with 
Mr. Paine) would soon be taught that no une genera- 
tion can bind another. He felt that no political fab- 
ric could be well made, without some sucii order of 



Off THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 225 

things as might, through a ser >s of time, affo -' a 
rational hope of securing unity, coherence, consib n- 
cy, and stability to the state. He felt th it nothin-^ 
else can protect it apainst ti.e levi v of court, and tii^ 
greater levity of the multitude ; tl.at to talk of hered- 
itary monarchy, with.nit anything -W of hereditary 
reverence in the comiuonweakh, was ., low-minded 
absurdity, fit only for those detestable '• fools aspiring 
to be knaves" who l)egan to forge in 1789 the false 
money of the French Cons itufion ; tlmt it is one fatal 
objection to all ne^r fancieu and neu fabricated repub- 
lies, (among a people who, once po.^e^sing such ar 
advantage, have wickedly and in^.,lently rejected it,) 
that the p .yudice of an old nobility is a thin- that 
cannot be made. It may be improved, it may cor- 
recLod, ,t may be replenishc-d ; moa may be takoa 
from ,t or aggregaK-d to it : but the t/tino itself k mat- 
ter of inveter>,u opinion, and therefore cinnot be mat- 
ter of mere positive institution. iJ,- felt tl- t this 
uobihty in fact, do s not exist in wro.ig of oUier or- 
ders of the stnta, but by them, and i^ - them 

I knew the man I speak of: an ' • ^o can divine 
the tuture out of what we collect irom the pa^t no 
person living would look with more scorn and horror 
on the impious parricide com. lifted on all their an- 
cestry. and oi. the desperate at lor massed , all 
thoir ,osterif ,.y the Orldan., and the Roc fou- 
cauli anu th. Fayettes, and the Vico-ute« de No- 
ailles, uid the false Pdrigords, a:.d the long -t e, -ra 
ot th pe.v i.ous sans-euhttes of the court, who, like 
demonuv. ..ussessed ^vith i spirit of fjiilen pride and 
inverted .bition, a!.dicated their di^mities. disowned 
their tamii.es, betrayed the most sa-red of ill trusts 
and, by br. .king to pieces a great L.k of ociety and 



f 







226 



LETTEB TO A NOBLE LOBD 



all the cramps and holdings of the state, brought eter- 
nal confusion and desolation on their country. For 
the fate of the miscreant parricides themselves he 
would have had no pity. Compassion for the myr- 
iads of men, of vhom the world was not worthy, who 
by their means have perished in prisons or on scaf- 
folds, or are pining in beggary and exile, would 
leave no room in his, or in any well-formed mind, 
for any such sensation. We are not made at once 
to pity the oppressor and the oppressed. 

Looking to his Batavian descent, how could he bear 
to behold his kindred, the descendants of the brave 
nobility of Holland, whose blood, prodigally poured 
out, had, more than all the canals, meres, and inim- 
dations of their country, protected their indepen- 
dence, to behold them bowed in the basest servitude 
to the basest and vilest of the human race, — in servi- 
tude to those who in no respect were superior in dig- 
nity or could aspire to a better place than that of 
hangmen to the tyrants to whose sceptred pride they 
had opposed an elevation of soul that surmounted and 
overpowered the loftiness of Castile, the haughtiness 
of Austria, and the overbearing arrogance of France ? 
Could he with patience bear that the children of 
that nobility who would have deluged their country 
and given it to the sea rather than submit to Louis 
the Fourteenth, who was then in his meridian glory, 
when his arms were conducted by the Turenncs, by 
the Luxembourgs, by the Boufilors, when his councils 
were directed by the Colberts and the Louvois, when 
his tribunals were filled by the Lamoignons and the 
D'Aguesscaus, — that these should be given up to the 
cruel sport of the Pichegrus, the Jourdans, the San- 
torres, under the Rolands, and Brissots, and Gorsas, 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON ms PENSION. 



227 



and Robespierres, the Reubells, the Caniots, and Tal- 
liens, and Dantons, and the whole tribe of regicides, 
robbers, and revolutionary judges, that from the rot- 
ten carcass of their own murdered country have 
poured out innumerable swarms of the lowest and 
at once the most destructive of the 'lasses of ani- 
mated Nature, which like columns of locusts have 
laid waste the fairest part of the world? 

"Would Keppel have borne to see the ruin of the 
virtuous patricians, that happy union of the noble 
and the burgher, who with signal prudence and in- 
tegrity had long governed the cities of the confeder- 
ate republic, the cherishing fathers of their country, 
who, denying commerce to themselves, made it flour- 
ish in a manner unexampled under their protection ? 
Could Keppel have borne that a vile faction should 
totally destroy this harmonious construction, in fa- 
vor of a robbing democracy founded on the spurious 
rights of man ? 

He was no great clerk, but ho was perfectly well 
versed in the interests of Europe, and he could not 
have heard with patience that the country of Grotius, 
the cradle of the law of nations, and one of the rich- 
est repositories of all law, should be taught a new 
code by the ignorant flippancy of Thomas Paine, the 
presumptuous foppery of La Fayette, with his stolen 
rights of man in his hand, the wild, profligate intrigue 
and turbulency of Marat, and the impious sophistry 
of Condorcut, in his insolent addresses to tlie Batavi- 
an Republic. 

Could Keppel, who idolized the House of Nassau, 
who was himself given to England along with the 
blessings of the British and Dutch Revolutions, with 
Revolutions of stability, with Revolutions which con- 



I 



■■ 



228 



LFTTEB TO A NOBLE LORD 






/ 15 S- 



Bolidated and married the liberties and the interests 
of the two nations forever, — could he see the foun- 
tain of British liberty itself in servitude to France ? 
Could he see with patience a Prince of Orange ex- 
pelled, as a sort of diminutive despot, with every kind 
of contumely, from the country which that family of 
deliverers had so often rescued from slavery, and 
obliged to live in exile in another country, which 
owes its liberty to his house? 

"Would Keppel have heard with patience that the 
conduct to be held on such occasions was to become 
short by the knees to the faction of ti. homicides, to 
entreat them quietly to retire? or, if I'le fortune of 
war should drive them from their first wicked and 
unprovoked invasion, that no security should be tak- 
en, no arrangement made, no barrier formed, no alli- 
ance entered into for the security of that which under 
a foreign name is the most precious part of England ? 
Wh::t would he have said, if it was even proposed 
that the Austrian Netheriands (which ought to be a 
barrier to Holland, and the tie of an alliance to pro- 
tect her against any species of rule that might be 
erected or even be restored in France) should be 
formed into a republic under her influence and de- 
pendent upon her power? 

But above all, what would he have said, if he had 
heard it made a matter of accusation aj;ainst me, by 
his nephew, the Duke of Bedford, that I was the au- 
thor of the war ? Had I a mind to keep that high 
distinction to myself, (as from pride I might, bii^ from 
justice I dare not,) he would have snatched his share 
of it from my hand, and held it with the grasp of a 
dying convulsion to his end. 
It would be a most arrogant presumption in me 



V '*J 






John Ru'^ell, Fourth Duk, -^r BoW,r,U K.G. 

Ituiii the paiiitip.j; l'\ Ti)om.i>, (iainst'tiruiij^ii, K.A., in tii*- NjtuM.il 
Portrait tiallcry 



m 



Mr-^^ 






J 



ON THE ATTACKS UPON HIS PENSION. 



229 



to assume to myself the glory of what belongs to his 
Majesty, and to his ministers, and to his Parliament, 
and to the far greater majority of his faithful people : 
but had I stood alone to counsel, and that all were 
determined to be guided by my advice, and to follow 
it implicitly, then I should have been the sole author 
of a war. But it should have been a war on my ideas 
and my principles. However, let his Grace think as 
he may of my demerits with regard to the war with 
Regicide, he will find my guilt confined to that alone. 
He never shall, with the smallest color of reason, 
accuse me of being the author of a peace with Regi- 
cide. — But that is high matter, and ought not to be 
mixed with anything of so little moment as what 
may belong to me, or even to the Duke of Bedford. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 

Edmund Bubee. 



'U 



(ffd^' 



■ti 




Jl 



THREE LETTERS 

ADDBK88ED TO 

A MEMBER OF THE PRESENT PARLIAMENT, 



PROPOSALS FOR PEACE WITH THE REQICmB 
DIRECTORY OF FRANCE. 



1796-7. 



i 



'Hi 



mam 



LETTER I. 



ON THE OVEBTUBES OF PEACK 



r 1 



MY DEAR SIR, — Our last conversation, though 
not in the tone of absolute despondency, was 
far from cheerful. We could not easily account for 
some unpleasant appearances. They were represent- 
ed to us as indicating the state of the popular mind ; 
and they were not at all what we should have expect- 
ed from our old ideas even of the faults and vices of 
the English character. The disastrous events which 
have followed one upon another in a long, unbroken, 
funereal train, moving in a procession that seemed to 
have no end, — these were not the principal causes 
of our dejection. We feared more from what threat- 
ened to fail within than what menaced to oppress us 
from abroad. To a people who have once been proud 
and great, and great because they were proud, a 
change in the national spirit is the most terrible of 
all revolutions. 

I shall not live to behold the unravelling of the 
intricate plot which saddens and perplexes the awful 
drama of Providence now acting on the moral theatre 
of the world. Whether for thought or for action, 
I am at the end of my career. You are in the mid- 
dle of yours. In what part of its orbit the nation 
with which we are carried along moves at this 
instant it is not easy to conjecture. It may, per- 



234 



LETTEB8 ON A BEGICIDE PEACI. 




haps, bo far advanced in its aphelion, — but when 
to return? 

Not 10 lose ourselves in the infinite void of the 
conjectural world, our business is with what is like- 
Ij to be affected, for the better or the worse, hy the 
wisdom or weakness of our plans. In all specula- 
tions upon men and human affairs, it is of no smaU 
moment to distinguisli things of accident from per- 
manent causes, and from effects that cannot bo al- 
tered. It is not every irregularity in our movement 
that is a total deviation from our course. I am not 
quite of the mind of those speculators who seem 
assured that necessarily, and by the constitution of 
things, all states have the same periods of infancy, 
manhood, and decrepitude that are found in the in- 
dividuals who compose them. Parallels of this sort 
rather furnish similitudes to illustrate or to adorn 
than supply analogies from whence to reasoji. The 
objects which are attempted to be forced into an 
analogy are not found in the same classes of exist- 
ence. Individuals are physical beings, subject to 
laws uiuversal and invariable. The immediate cause 
acting in these laws may be obscure i the general 
results are subjects of certain calculation. But com- 
monwealths are not physical, but moral essences. 
They are artificial combinations, and, in their proxi- 
mate efficient cause, the arbitrary productions of the 
human mind. We are not yet acquainted with the 
laws which necessarily influence the stability of that 
kind of work made by that kind of agent. There is 
not in the physical order (with which they do not 
appear to hold any assignable connection) a distmct 
cause by which any of those fabrics must necessari- 
ly grow, flourish, or decay ; nor, in my opinion, does 



LETTEB I. 



285 



tlie moral world produce anjthing more determinate 
on that subject than what may servo as an amuse- 
ment (liberal, indeed, and ingenious, but htill only 
an amusement) for speculative men. I doubt wheth- 
er the history of mankind is yet complete enough, if 
ever it can be so, to furnish grounds for a sure 
theory on the internal causes which necessarily affect 
the fortune of a state. I aui far from denying the 
operation of such causes : '>ut they are infinitely un- 
certaui, and much more ob. ure, and much more 
difficult to trace, than the foi igu causes that tend 
to raise, to depress, and sometimes to overwhelm a 
community. 

It is often impossible, in these political inquiries, 
to find any proportion between the apparent force 
of any moral causes we may assign and their known 
operation. We are therefore obliged to deliver up 
that operation to mere chance, or, more piously, 
(perhaps more rationally,) to the occasional inter- 
position and irresistible hand of the Great Disposer. 
We have seen states of considerable duration, which 
for ages have remained nearly is they have begun, 
and could hardly be said to ebb or flow. Some 
appear to have spent their vigor at theii commence- 
ment. Some have blazed out in their glory a little 
before their extinction. The meridian of some has 
been the most splendid. Others, and they the great- 
est number, have fluctuated, and experienced at dif- 
ferent periods of their existence a great variety of 
fortune. At the very moment when some of them 
seemed plunged in unfathomable abysses of disgrace 
and disaster, they have suddenly emerged. They 
have begun a new course and opened a new reckon- 
ing, and even in the depths of their calamity and on 



f 



286 



LETTEBR ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



tlie very ruins of their country have laid the founda- 
tions of a towering and durable greatness. All this 
has happened without any apparent previous change 
in the general circumstances which had brought on 
their distress. The death of a man at a critical 
juncture, his disgust, his retreat, his disgrace, have 
brought innumerable calamities on a whole nation. 
A common soldier, a child, a girl at the door of an 
hm, have changed the face of fortune, and almost of 
Natui'c. 

Such, and often influenced by such causes, has 
commonly been the fate of monarchies of long dura- 
tion. They have their ebbs and their flows. This 
has been eminently the fate of the monarchy of 
France. There have been times in which no power 
has ever been brought so low. Few have ever flour- 
ished in greater glory. By turns elevated and de- 
pressed, that power had been, on the whole, rather 
on the increase ; and it continued not only powerful, 
but formidable, to the hour of the total ruin of the 
monarchy. This fall of the monarchy was far from 
being preceded by any exterior symptoms of decline. 
The interior were not visible to every eye; and a 
thousand accidents might have prevented the opera- 
tion of what the most clear-sighted were not able to 
discern nor the most provident to divine. A very lit- 
tle time before its dreadful catastrophe, there was a 
kind of exterior splendor in the situation of the 
crown, wliich usually add= to government strength 
and authority at home. The crown seemed then to 
have obtahiod some of the most splendid objects of 
state ambition. None of the Continental powers ol 
Europe were the enemies of France. They were all 
eitlier tacitly disposed to her or publicly connected 



LETTEB I. 



237 



with her; and in those who kept the most aloof 
there was little appearance of jealousy, — of animos- 
ity tliere was no appearance at all. The British na- 
tion, her great preponderating rival, she had hum- 
bled, to all appearance she had weakened, certainly 
had endangered, by cutting off a very large and by 
far the most growing part of her empire. In that its 
acme of human prosperity and greatness, in the high 
and palmy state of the monarchy of France, it fell to 
the ground without a struggle. It fell without any 
of those vices in the monarch which have sometimes 
been the causes of the fall of kingdoms, but which 
existed, without any visible effect on the stare, in the 
highest degree in many other princes, and, far from 
destroying their power, had only left some slight 
stains on their character. The financial difficulties 
were only pretexts and instruments of those who 
accomplished tlie ruin of that monarchy ; they were 
not the causes of it. 

Deprived of the old government, deprived in a 
manner of all government, France, fallen as a mon- 
archy, to common speculators might have appeared 
more likely to be an object of pity or insult, accord- 
ing to the disposition of the circumjacent powers, 
than to be the scourge and terror of them all : but 
out of the tomb of the murdered monarchy in Franco 
has arisen a vast, tremendous, unformed spectre, in a 
far more terrific guise than any which ever yet have 
overpowered the imagination and subdued the forti- 
tude of man. Going straight forward to its end, un- 
appalled by peril, unchecked by remorse, despising 
all common maxims and all common means, that 
hideous phantom overpowered those who could not 
believe it was possible she could at all exist, except 



' 



288 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIkE PEACE. 



I-'' 






on the principles which habit rather than Nature had 
persuaded them were necessary to their own partic- 
ular welfare and to their own ordinary modes of 
action. But the constitution of any political being, 
as well as that of any physical being, ought to be 
known, before one can venture to say what is fit for 
its conservation, or what is the proper means of its 
power. The poison of other states is the food of the 
new Republic. That bankruptcy, the very apprehen- 
sion of which is one of the causes assigned for the fall 
of the monarchy, was the capital on which she opened 
her traffic with the world. 

The Republic of Regicide, with an annihilated rev- 
enue, with defaced manufactures, with a ruined com- 
merce, with an uncultivated and half-depopulated 
country, with a discontented, distressed, enslaved, 
and famished people, passing, with a rapid, eccen- 
*ric, incalculable coui-se, from the wildest anarchy to 
the sternest despotism, has actually conquered the 
finest parts of Europe, has distressed, disunited, de- 
range J, and broke t(> pieces all the rest, and so sub- 
dued the minds of the rulers in every nation, that 
hardly any resoiirce presents itself to them, except 
that of entitling themselves to a contemptuous mer- 
cy by a display of their imbecility and meanness. 
Even in their greatest military efforts, and the great- 
est display of their fortitude, tliey seem not to hope, 
they do not even appear to wish, the extinction of 
what subsists to ♦I'-ir certain ruin. Tlieir ambition 
is only to be adni d to a more favored class in the 
order of servitude under that domineering power. 

Tliis seems the temper of the day. At first the 
French force was too much despised. Now it is too 
much dreaded. As inconsiderate courage has given 



LETTER I. 



239 



way to irrational fear, so it may bo hoped, that, 
through the medium of deliberate, sober apprehen- 
sion, we may arrive at steacly fortitude. Who knows 
whether indignation may not succeed to terror, and 
the revival of high ser ■ !ment, spurning away the de- 
lusion of a safety purchased at the expense of glory, 
may not yet drive us to that generous despair which 
has often subdued distempers in the state for which 
no remedy could be found in the wisest councils ? 

Other great states having been without any regu- 
lar, certain course of elevation or decline, we may 
hope that tlie British fortiine may fluctuate also ; be- 
cause the public mind, which greatly influences that 
fortune, may have its changes. We are therefore 
never authorized to abandon our country to its fate, 
or to act or advise as if it had no resource. There 
is no reason to apprehend, because ordinary moans 
threaten to fail, that no others can spring up. Whilst 
our heart is whole, it will find means, or make them. 
The heart of the citizen is a perennial spring of en- 
ergy to the state. Because the pulse seems to inter- 
mit, we must not presume that it will cease instantly 
to beat. The public must never be regarded as in- 
curable. I remember, in the beginning of what has 
lately been called the Seven Years' War, that an elo 
quent writer and ingenious speculator, Dr. Brown, 
upon some reverses which happened in the beginning 
of that war, published an elaborate pliilosopliical dis- 
course to prove tliat the distinguisliing features of tbo 
people of England liad been totally changed, and that 
a frivolous effeminacy was become the national cliar- 
acter. Nothing could be more popular than (liat 
work. It was thouglit ,i great consolation to us, the 
light people of this country, (who were and are light, 



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240 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



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but who were not and are not effeminate,) that we 
had found the causes of our misfortunes in our vices. 
Pythagoras could not be more pleased with his lead- 
ing discovery. But whilst, in that splenetic mood, 
we amused ourselves in a sour, critical speculation, 
of which we were ourselves the objects, and in which 
every man lost his particular sense of the public dis- 
grace in the epidemic nature of the distemper, — 
whilst, as in the Alps, goitre kept goitre in counte- 
nance, — whilst we were thus abandoning ourselves 
to a direct confession of our inferiority to France, and 
whilst many, very many, were ready to act upon a 
sense of that inferiority, — a few months effected a 
total change in our variable minds. We emerged 
from the gulf of that speculative despondency, and 
were buoyed up to the highest point of practical vig- 
or. Never did the masculine spirit of England dis- 
play itself with more energy, nor ever did its genius 
soar with a prouder preeminence over France, than 
at the time when frivolity and effeminacy had been 
at least tacitly acknowledged as their national char- 
acter by the good people of this kingdom. 

For one, (if they be properly treated,) I despair 
neither of the public fortune nor of the public mind. 
There is much to be done, undoubtedly, and much to 
be retrieved. We must walk in new ways, or we can 
never encounter our enemy in his devious march. 
We are not at an end of our struggle, nor near it. 
Let us not deceive ourselves: we are at the begin- 
ning of great troubles. I readily acknowledge that 
the sstatc of public affairs is infinitely more unprom- 
ising than at the period I liave just now alluded to ; 
and the position of all the powers of Europe, in rela- 
tion to us, and in relation to each other, is more in- 



IjETTEB I. 



241 



tricate and critical beyond all companson. Difficult 
indeed is our situation. In all situations of difficul- 
ty, men will be influenced in the part they take, not 
only by the reason of the case, but by the peculiar 
turn of their own character. The same ways to 
safety do not present themselves to all men, nor to 
the same men in different tempers. There is a cou- 
rageous wisdom: there is also a false, reptile pru- 
dence, the result, not of caution, but of fear. Under 
misfortunes, it often happens that the nerves of the 
understanding are so relaxed, the pressing peril of 
the hour so completely confounds all the faculties, 
that no future danger can be properly provided for, 
can be justly estimated, can be so much as fully seen. 
The eye of the mind is dazzled and vanquished. An 
abject distrust of ourselves, an extravagant admira- 
tion of the enemy, present us with no hope but in a 
coinpromise with his pride by a submission to his will. 
This short plan of policy is the only counsel which 
will obtain a hearing. We plunge into a dark gulf 
with all the rash precipitation of fear. The nature of 
courage is, without a question, to be conversant with 
dangor: but in the palpable night of their terrors, 
men under consternation suppose, not that it is the 
danger which by a sure instinct calls out the courage 
to resist it, but that it is the courage which produces 
the danger. They therefore seek for a refuge from 
their fears in the fears themselves, and consider a 
temporizing meanness as the only source of safety. 

The rules and definitions of prudence can raroly 
be exact, never universal. I do not deny, that, hi 
small, truckling states, a timely compromise with 
power has often been the means, and the only means, 
of drawling out their puny existence ; but a great 



VOL. T. 



16 



242 



LFPTEBS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



state is too much envied, too much dreaded, to find 
safety in humiliation. To be secure, it must be re- 
spected. Power and eminence and consideration are 
things not to be begged ; they must be commanded: 
and they who supplicate for mercy from others can 
never hope for justice through themselves. "What 
justice they are to obtain, as the alms of an enemy, 
depends upon his character ; and that they ought well 
to know before they implicitly confide. 

Much controversy there has been in Parliament, 
and not a little amongst us out of doors, about the 
instrumental means of this nation towards the main- 
tenance of her dignity and the assertion of her rights. 
On the most elaborate and correct detail oi facts, the 
result seems to be, that at no time has the wealth and 
power of Great Britain been so considerable as it is at 
this very perilous moment. We have a vast interest 
to preserve, and we possess great means of preserv- 
ing it : but it is to be remembered that the artificer 
may be incumbered by his tools, and that resources 
may be among impediments. If wealtli is tlie obedi- 
ent and laborious slave of virtue and of public honor, 
then wealth is in its place and has its use ; but if this 
order is changed, and honor is to be sacrificed to the 
conservation of riches, riches, which have neither eyes 
nor hands, nor anything truly vital in them, cannot 
long survive the being of their vivifying powers, their 
legitimate masters, and their potent protectors. If 
we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free: 
if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed. We 
are bought by the enemy with the treasure from our 
own coffers. Too great a sense of the value of a sub- 
ordmate interest may be the very source of its dan- 
ger, as well as the certain ruin of interests of a su- 



LETTER I. 



248 



perior order. Often has a man lost his all because he 
would not submit to hazard all in defending it. A 
display of our wealth before robbers is not the way 
to restrain their boldness or to lessen their rapacity. 
This display is made, I know, to persuade the people 
of England that thereby we shall awe the enemy and 
improve the terms of our capitulation : it is made, 
not that we should fight with more animation, but 
that we should supplicate with better hopes. We are 
mistaken. "We have an enemy to deal with who 
never regarded our contest as a measuring and 
weighing of purses. He is the Gaul that puts his 
sword into the scale. He is more tempted with our 
wealth as booty than terrified with it as power. But 
let us be rich or poor, let us be either in what pro- 
portion we may. Nature is false or this is true, that, 
where the essential public force (of which money is 
but a part) is in any degree upon a par in a conflict 
between nations, that state which is resolved to haz- 
ard its existence rather than to abandon its objects 
must have an infinite advantage over that which is 
resolved to yield rather than to carry its resistance 
beyond a certain point. Humanly speaking, tliat 
people which bounds its efforts only with its being 
must give the law to that nation which will not push 
its opposition beyond its convenience. 

If we look to nothing but our domestic condition, 
the state of the nation is full even to plethora ; but 
if we imagine that tliis country can long maintain 
its blood and its food as disjoined from the communi- 
ty of mankind, such an opinion does not deserve ref- 
utation as absurd, but pity as insane. 

I do not know that such an improvident and stu- 
pid selfishness deserves the discussion which perhaps 



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LETTEB8 ON A BEQICIDE PKACB- 






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T may bestow upon it hereafter. We cannot arrange 
with our enemy, in the present conjuncture, without 
abandoning tho interest of mankind. If we look only 
to our own petty peculium in the war, we have had 
some advantages, — advantages ambiguous in their 
nature, and dearly bought. We have not in the 
slightest degree impaired the strength of the common 
enemy in any one of those points in which his partic- 
ular force consists, — at the, same time that new ene- 
mies to ourselves, new allies to the Regicide Republic, 
have been made out of the wrecks and fragments of 
the general confederacy. So far as to the selfish part. 
As composing a part of the community of Europe, 
and interested in its fate, it is not easy to conceive a 
state of things more doubtful and perplexing. When 
Louis the Fourteenth had made himself master of one 
of the largest and most important provinces of Spain, 

when he had in a manner overrun Lombardy, and 

was thundering at the gates of Turin, — when he had 
mastered almost all Germany on this side the Rhine, 
— when he was on the point of ruining the august 
fabric of the Empire,— when, with the Elector of 
Bavaria in his alliauce, hardly anything interposed 
between him and Vienna, — when the Turk hung 
with a mighty force over the Empire on the other 
side, — I do not know that in the ij(>ginuing of 1704 
(that is, iu the third year of the renovated war with 
Louis the Fourteenth) the state of Europe was so 
truly alarming. To England it certainly was not. 
Holland (and Holland its a matter to England of 
value inestimable) was then powerful, was then inde- 
pendent, and, tViough greatly endangered, was then 
full of energy and spirit. But the great resource of 
Europe was in England : not it. a sort of England 



LETTER I. 



245 



detached from the rest of the world, and amusing her- 
self with the puppet-show of a naval power, (it can 
be no better, whilst all the sources of that power, and 
of every sort of power, are precarious,) but in that 
sort of England who considered herself as embodied 
with Europe, but in that sort of England who, 
sympathetic with the adversity or the happiness of 
mankind, felt that nothing in human affairs was for- 
eign to her. We may consider it as a sure axiom, 
that, as, on the one hand, no confederacy of the least 
effect or duration can exist against France, of which 
England is not only a part, but the head, so neither 
can England pretend to cope with France but as con- 
nected with the body of Christendom. 

Our account of the war, as a war of communion, to 
the -vaij point in which we began to throw out lures, 
oglings, JTid glances for peace, was a war of disaster, 
and of iittle else. The independent advantages ob- 
tained by us at the beginning of the war, and which 
were made at the expense of that common cause, if 
they deceive us about our largest and our surest 
intor.,>st, are to be reckoned amongst our 1 eaviest 
lo&scs. 

The Allies, and Great Britain amongst the rest, 
(ajid perhaps amongst the foremost,) have been mis- 
erably d jiuded by this great, fundamental error : that 
it was in our power to make peace with this monster 
of a state, whenever Ave chose to forget the crimes 
that mode it great and the designs that made it for- 
midable. People imagined that their ceasing to re- 
sist was the sure way to be secure. This " pale cast 
of thought " sicklied over all their enterprises, and 
turned all their politics awry. Tiiey could not, or 
rather they would not, read, in the most unetxuivocal 



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246 



LETTEBS ON ▲ BEOICIOE PEACE. 



declarations of the enemy, and in his uniform con- 
duct, that more safety was to be found in the most 
arduous war than in the friendship of that kind of 
being. Its hostile amity can be obtained on no terms 
that do not imply an inability hereafter to resist its 
designs. This great, prolific error ( I mean that peace 
was always in our power) has been the cause that 
rendered the Allies indifferent about the direction of 
the war, and persuaded them that they might always 
risk a choice and even a change in its objects. Tliey 
seldom improved any advantage, — hoping that the 
enemy, affected by it, would make a proffer of peace. 
Hence it was that all their early victories have been 
followed almost immediately with the usual effects of 
a defeat, whilst all the advantages obtained by the 
Regicides have been followed by the consequences 
that were natural. The discomfitures whicli the 
Republic of Assassins has suffered liave uniformly 
called forth new exertions, which not only repaired 
old losses, but prepared new conquests. The losses 
of the Allies, on the contrary, (no provision having 
been made on the speculation of such an event,) have 
been followed by desertion, by dismay, by disunion, 
by a dereliction of their policy, by a flight from their 
priiicipb s, by an admiration of the enemy, by mu- 
tual accusations, by a distrust in every member of 
the Alliuuce of its fellow, of its causo, its power, and 
its c urui^c. 

Gn.'at difficulties in consequence of our erroneous 
policy, as I have said, press upon every side of us. 
Far from desiring to conceal or even to palliate the 
evil in the representation, I wish to lay it down as 
my foundation, that never greater existed. In a mo- 
ment when sudden panic is apprehended, it may be 




LETTEB I. 



347 



wise for a while to conceal some great public disa* 
ter, or to reveal it by degrees, until the minds of the 
people have time to be re-collected, that their under- 
standing maj have leisure to rally, and that more 
steady councils may prevent their doing something 
desperate under the first impressions of rage or ter- 
ror. But with regard to a general state of things, 
growing out of events and causes already known in 
the gross, there is no piety in the fraud that covers 
its true nature ; because nothing but erroneous res- 
olutions can be the result of false representations. 
Those measures, which iu common distress might be 
available, in greater are no better than playing with 
the evil. That the eflFort may bear a proportion to 
the exigence, it is fit it snould be known, — known 
iu its quality, in its extent, and in all the circumstan- 
ces which attend it. Great reverses of fortune there 
have been, and great embarrassments in council: a 
principled regicide enemy possessed of the most im- 
portant part of Europe, and struggling for the rest ; 
within ourselves a total relaxation of all authority, 
whilst a cry is raised against it, as if it were the most 
ferocious of all despotism. A worse phenomenon: 
our government disowned by the most efficient mem- 
ber of its tribunals, — Ill-supported by any of their 
constituent parts, — and the highest tribunal of all 
(from causes not for our present purpose to exam- 
ine) deprived of all that dignity and all that efficien- 
cy which might enforce, or regulate, or, if the case 
required it, might supply the want of every other 
court. Public prosecutions are become little better 
than schools for treason, — of no use but to imprc/e 
the dexterity of criminals in the mystery of evasion, 
or to show with wliat complete impunity men may 






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LETIERS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 






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conspire against the commonwealth, with what safety 
assassins may attempt its awful head. Everything 
is secure, except what the laws ha^e made sacred ; 
everything is tameness and languor ihat is not fury 
and faction. WhUst the distempers of a relaxed fibre 
prognosticate and prepare all the morbid force of con- 
vulsion in the body of the state, the steadiness of the 
physician is overpowered by the very aspect of the 
disease.* The doctor of the Constitution, pretending 
to underrate what he is not able to contend with, 
shrinks from his own operation. He doubts and 
questions the salutary, but critical, terrors of the 
cautery and the knife. He takes a poor credit even 
from his defeat, and covers impotence under the mask 
of lenity. He praises the moderation of the laws, as 
in his hands he sees them baffled and despised. Is 
all this because in our day the statutes of the king- 
dom are not engrossed in as firm a character and im- 
printed in as black and legible a type as ever ? No ! 
the law is a clear, but it is a dead letter. Dead and 
putrid, it is insufficient to save the state, but potent 
to infect and to kill. Living law, full of reason, and 
of equity and justice, (as it is, or it should not exist,) 
ought to be severe, and awful too, — or the words of 
menace, whether written on the parchment roll of 
England or cut into the brazen tablet of Rome, will 
excite nothing but contempt. How comes it that in 
all the state prosecutions of magnitude, from the 
Revolution to within these two or three years, the 
crown has scarcely ever retired disgraced and defeat- 
ed from its courts ? Whence this alarming change ? 
By a connection easily felt, and not impossible to be 
traced to its cause, all the parts of the state have 

• << Mussabat taciio medicina timore." 



LGTTEB I. 



249 



their correspondence and consent. They who bow 
to the enemy abroad will not be of power to subdue 
the conspirator at home. It is impossible not to ob- 
serve, that, in proportion as we approximate to the 
poisonous jaws of anarchy, the fascination grows ir- 
resistible. In proportion as we are attracted tf .vards 
the focus of illegality, irreligion, and desperate enter- 
prise, all the venomous and blighting insects of the 
state are awakened into life. The promise of the 
year is blasted and shrivelled and burned up before 
them. Our most salutary and most beautiful institu- 
tions yield nothing but dust and smut ; the harvest 
of our law is no more than stubble. It is in the 
nature of these eruptive diseases in the state to sink 
in by fits and reappear. But the fuel of the malady 
remains, and in my opinion is not in the smallest 
degree mitigated in its malignity, though it waits 
the favorable moment of a freer communication with 
the source of regicide to exert and to increase its 
force. 

Is it that the people are changed, that the common- 
wealth cannot bo protected by its laws? I hardly 
think it. On the contrary, I conceive that these 
things happen because men are not changed, but re- 
main always what they always were ; they remain 
what the bulk of us ever must be, when abandoned 
to our vulgar propensities, witliout guide, leader, or 
control : that is, made to be full of a blind elevation 
in prosperity ; to despise untried dangers ; to be over- 
powered with unexpected reverses ; to find no clew 
in a labyrinth of difficulties ; to get out of a present 
inconvenience with any risk of future ruin ; to follow 
and to bow to fortune ; to admire successful, though 
wicked enterprise, and to imitate what we admire ; to 



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LETTEB8 ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



contemn the government which announces danger 
from sacrUege and regicide whUst they are only m 
their infancy and their struggle, but wiuch finds 
nothing that can alarm in their adult state, and in 
the power and triumph of those destructive pnnci- 
pies In a mass we cannot be left to ourselves. We 
must have leaders. If none wUl undertake to lead us 
right, we shall find guides who will contrive to con- 
duct us to shame and ruin. 

We are in a war of a peeuliar nature. It is not 
with an ordinary community, which is hostile or 
friendly as passion or as interest may veer about,— 
not with a state which makes war through wanton- 
ness, and abandons it through lassitude. We are at 
war with a system which by its essence is inimical to 
all other governments, and which makes peace or war 
as peace and war may best contribute to their subver- 
sion. It is with an armed doctrine that we are at war. 
It has, by its essence, a faction of opinion and of in- 
terest and of enthusiasm in every country. To us it 
is a Colossus which bestrides our Channel. It has one 
foot on a foreign shore, the other upon the British soil. 
Thus advantaged, if it can at all exist, it must finally 
prevail. Nothing can so completely ruin any of the 
old governments, ours in particular, as the acknowl- 
edgment, directly or by implication, of any kind of 
superiority in this new power. This acknowledgment 
we make, if, in a bad or doubtful situation of our al- 
fairs, we solicit peace, or if we yield to the modes of 
new humiliation in which aloae she is content to give 
us an hearing. By that means the terms cannot be 
of our choosing, — no, not in any part. 

It is laid in the unalterable constitution of things, 
— None can aspire to act greatly but those who are 



LETTEB I. 



251 



of force greatly to suffer. They who make their ar- 
raugcments in the first run of misadveuture, aud in a 
temper of miud the common fruit of disappointment 
and dismay, put a seal on their calamities. To their 
power they take a security against any favors which 
they might hope from the usual inconstancy of for- 
tune. I am therefore, my clear friend, invariably of 
your opinion, (though full of respect for those who 
think differently,) that neither the time chosen for 
it, nor the manner of soliciting a negotiation, were 
properly considered, — even though 1 had allowed ( I 
hardly shall allow) that with the horde of Regicides 
we could by any selection of time or use of means 
obtain anything at all deserving the name of peace. 

In one point we are lucky. The Regicide has re- 
ceived our advances with scorn. We have an enemy 
to whose virtues we can owe nothing, but on this oc- 
casion we are infinitely obliged to one of his vices. 
We owe more to his insolence than to oar own pre- 
caution. The haughtiness by which t^e proud repel 
us has this of good in it, — that, in making us keep 
our distance, they must keep their distance too. In 
the present case, the pride of the Regicide may be 
our safety. He has given time for our reason to op- 
erate, and for British dignity to recover from its sur- 
prise. From first to last he has rejected all our ad- 
vances. Far as we have gone, he has still left a way 
open to our retreat. 

There is always an augury to be taken of what a 
peace is likely to be from the preliminary steps ihat 
are made to bring it about. We may gather some- 
thuig from the time in which the first overtures are 
made, from the quarter whence they come, from the 
manner in which they are received. These discover 



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LETTEBS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



the temper of the parties. If your enemy offers peace 
in th V moment of success, it indicates that he is satis- 
fied with something. It shows that there are limits 
to his ambition or his resentment. If he offei noth- 
ing under misfortune, it is probable that it is more 
painful to him to abandon the prospect of advantage 
than to endure calamity. If he rejects solicitation, 
and will not give even a nod to the suppliants for 
peace, until a change in the fortune of the war 
threatens him with ruin, then I think it evident that 
he wishes nothing more than to disarm his adversary 
to gain time. Afterwards a question arises. Which 
of the parties is likely to obtain the greater advanta- 
ges by continuing disarmed and by the use of time ? 
With these few plain indications in our minds, it 
will not be improper to reconsider the conduct of the 
enemy together with our own, from the day that a 
question of peace has been in agitation. In consid- 
ering this part of the question, I do not proceed on 
my own hypothesis. I suppose, for a moment, that 
this body of Regicide, calling itself a Republic, is a 
politic person, with whom something deserving the 
na^ie of peace may be made. On that supposition, 
let us examine our own proceeding. Let us compute 
the profit it has brought, and the advantage that it is 
likely to bring hereafter. A peace too eagerly sought 
is not always the sooner obtained. The discovery 
of vehement wishes generally frustrates their attain- 
ment, and your adversary has gained a great ad- 
vantage over you when he finds you impatient to 
conclude a treaty. There is in reserve not only 
something of dignity, but a great deal of prudence 
too. A sort of courage belongs to negotiation, a-! 
well as to operations of the Leld. A negotiator 



>- }s 



Limx I. 



253 



must oftan seem willing to hazard the whole issue 
of his treaty, if he wishes to secure any one mate- 
rial point. 

The Regicides were the first to declare war. We 
are tlie first to sue for peace. In proportion to the 
humility and perseverance we have shown in our 
addresses has been the obstinacy of their arrogance 
in rejectuig our suit. The patience of their pride 
seems to have been worn out with the importunity 
of our courtship. Disgusted as they are with a con- 
duct so different from all the sentiments by which 
they are themselves filled, they think to put an end 
to our vexatious solicitation by redoubling their in- 
sults. 

It happens frequently that pride may reject a 
public advance, while interest listens to a secret 
suggestion of advantage. The opportunity has been 
afforded. At a very early period in the diplomacy 
of humiliation, a gentlem xn was sent on an errand,* 
of which, from the motive of it, whatever the event 
might be, we can never be ashamed. Humanity can- 
not be degraded by humiliation. It is its ver/ char- 
acter to submit to such things. There is a consan- 
guinity between benevolence and humility. They 
are virtues of the same stock. Dignity is of as good 
a race ; but it belongs to the family of fortitude. Tn 
the spirit of that benevolence, we sent a ge-'*-eman 
to beseech the Directory of Regicide not to be quite 
80 prodigal as their republic had been of judicial 
murder. We solicited them to spare the lives of 
some unhappy persons of the first distinction, whose 
safety at other times could not have been an object 
of solicitation. They had quitted France on the 

* Mr. Bird, sent to state the real situation of the Dae de Choiseal. 



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254 



LETTERS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



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faith of the declaration of the rights of citizens. 
They never had been in the service of the Regicides, 
nor at their hands had received any stipend. The 
very system and constitution of government that now 
prevails was settled subsequent to their emigration. 
They were under the protection of Great Britain, and 
in his Majesty's pay and service. Not an hostile in- 
vasion, but the disasters of the sea, had thrown them 
upon a shore more barbarous and inhospitable than 
the inclement ocean under the most pitiless of its 
Btorms. Here was an opportunity to express a feel- 
ing for the miseries of war, and to open some sort of 
conversation, which, (after our public overtures had 
glutted their pride,) at a cautious and jealous dis- 
tance, might lead to something like an accommoda- 
tion.— W^at was the event? A strange, uncouth 
thing, a theatrical figure of the opera, his head shad- 
ed with three-colored plumes, his body fantastically 
habited, strutted from the back scenes, and, after a 
short speech, in the mock-heroic falsetto of stupid 
tragedy, delivered the gentleman who came to make 
the representation into the custody of a guard, with 
direcHons not to lose sight of him for a moment, and 
then ordered him to be sent from Paris in two hours. 
Here it is impossible that a sentiment of tenderness 
should not strike athwart the sternness of politics, 
and make us recall to painful memory the difference 
between this insolent and bloody theatre and the 
temperate, natural majesty of a civilized court, where 
the afflicted family of Asgill did not in vain solicit 
the mercy of the highest in rank and the most com- 
passionate of the compassionate sex. 

In this intercourse, at least, there was nothing to 
promise a great deal of success in our future advan- 



LETTER I. 



255 



ces. "Whilst the fortune of the field was wholly with 
the Regicides, nothing was thought of but to follow 
where it led : and it led to everything. Not so much 
OS a talk of treaty. Laws were laid down with arro- 
gance. The most moderate politician in their clan* 
was chosen as tho organ, not so much for prescribing 
limits to their claims as to mark what for the present 
they are content to leave to others. They made, not 
laws, not conventions, not lato possession, but physi- 



cal Nature and pol'^ 
tion of their clain 
and the ocean ^ 
they assigned to 1 
the Chamber 



c^ nvonience the sole founda- 
'hine, the Mediterranean, 
•>\mds which, for the time, 
J of "Regicide. What was 
Kju.oii of • juis the Fourteenth, 
which astonished and provoked all Europe, compared 
to this declaration ? In truth, with these limits, and 
their principle, they would not have left even the 
shadow of liberty or safety to any nation. Tliis plan 
of empire was not taken up in the first intoxication 
of unexpected success. You must recollect that it 
was projected, just as the report has stated it, from 
the very first revolt of the faction against their mon- 
archy ; and it has been uniformly pursued, as a 
standing maxim of national policy, from that time 
to this. It is generally in the season of prosperity 
that men discover their real temper, principles, and 
designs. But this principle, suggested in their first 
struggles, fully avowed in their prosperity, lias, in 
the most adverse state of their affairs, been tena- 
ciously adhered to. The report, combined with their 
conduct, forms an infallible criterion of the views of 
this republic. , 

In their fortune there has be-'n some fluctuation. 



* Boissy d' Anglos. 



256 



LETTEB8 ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



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We are to see how their minds ha..; been affected 
with a change. Some impression it made on them, 
undoubtedly. It produced some oblique notice of the 
submissions that were made by suppliant nations. 
The utmost they did was to make some of those cold, 
formal, general professions of a love of peace which 
no power has ever refused to make, because they 
mean little and cost nothing. The first paper I 
have seen (the publication at Hamburg) making a 
show of that pacific disposition discovered a rooted 
animosity against this nation, and an incurable ran- 
cor, even more than any one of their hostile acts. In 
this Hamburg declaration they choose to suppose 
that the war, on the part of England, is a war of gov- 
emmetit, begun and carried on against the sense and in- 
terests of the people, — thus sowing in their very over- 
tures towards peace the seeds of tumult and sedition : 
for they never have abandoned, and never will they 
abandon, in peace, in war, in treaty, in any situation, 
or for one instant, their old, steady maxim of sepa- 
rating the people from their government. Let me 
add, (and it is with unfeigned anxiety for the charac- 
ter and credit of ministers that I do add,) if our gov- 
ernment perseveres in its as uniform course of act- 
ing under instruments with such preambles, it pleads 
guilty to the charges made by our enemies against it, 
both on its own part and on the part of Parliament 
itself. The enemy must succeed in his plan for 
loosening and disconnecting all the internal hold- 
ings of the kingdom. 

It was not enough that the speech from the throne, 
in the opening of the session in 1795, threw out 
oglings and glances of tenderness. Lest this coquet- 
ting should seem too cold and ambiguous, without 



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LETTSB I. 



257 



waiting for its effect, the violent passion for a relation 
to the Regicides produced a direct message from the 
crown, and its consequences from the two Houses of 
Parliament. On the part of the Regicides these dec- 
larations could not be entirely passed by without no- 
tice; but in that notice they discovered stili moro 
clearly the bottom of their charanter. The offer 
made to them by the message to Parliament was 
hinted at in their answ**" — but in an obscure and 
o' ''que manner, as bef' j Tliey accompanied their 
nou e of the indications man'fested on our side witli 
every kind of insolent and taunting reflection. Tlie 
Regicide Directory, on the day which, in their gypsy 
jargon, they call the 5th of Pluv'me, in return for 
our advances, charge us witli eluding our declara- 
tions under "evasive formalities and frivolous pre- 
texts." "What these pretexts and evasions were they 
do not say, and I liave never heard. But they do 
not rest there. They proceed to charge us, and, as it 
should seem, our allies in the mass, wi , direct per- 
fidy; they are so conciliatory in tlieir languajre as 
to hint that this perfidious character is not n ^ in 
our proceedings. However, notwithstanding this our 
habitual perfidy, liiey will offer peace " on conditions 
as moderate" — as what? as reason and as equity re- 
quire ? No, — as moderate " as are suitable to their 
national dignity." National dignity in all treaties I 
do admit is an important consideration: they have 
given us an useful hint on that subject : but dignity 
hitherto has belonged to the mode of proceeding, not 
to the matter of a treaty. Never before has it been 
mentioned as the standard for rating the conditions 
of peace, — no, never by the most violent of conquer- 
ors. Indemnification is capable of some estimate; 

VOL. v. 17 



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LETTERS ON A BEOICIDK PBACB. 



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{ 

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dignity has no stauu.rd. It is impossible to guew 
what acquisitions prids and ambition may thmk fit 
for their diirnit},. But lest any doubt should rcmam 
on what they think for their dignity, the Regicides 
in the next paragraph tell us "that they will have 
no peace with their enemies, until they have reduced 
them to a state which will put them under an impog- 
tibiUtu of pursuing their wretched projects," — that 
is, in plain French or English, until they have ac- 
complished our utter and Irretrievable ruin. Tins 
is their pacific language. It flows from their unal- 
terable principle, in whatever language they speak 
or whatever steps the; take, whether of real war or 
of pretended pacification. Tlicy have never, to do 
them justice, been at much trouble in concealing 
their intentions. We were as obstinately resolved 
to think them not in earnest : but ' ufcss, jests 
of this sort, whatever their urbanity may be, are 
not much to my taste. 

To this conciliatory and amicable public communi- 
cation our sole answer, in effect, is this : -" Citizen 
Regicides! whenever you find yourselves m the hu- 
mor, you may have a peace with ««. Tliat is a point 
you may always command. We are constantly in 
attendance, and nothing you can do shall lunder us 
from the renewal of our supplications. You iray 
turn us out at the door, but we will jump in at the 

window." , . xi <• 11 

To those who do not love to contemplate the lall 
of human greatness, I do not know a more morti- 
fying spectacle than to see the assembled majesty ot 
the crowned heads of Europe waiting as patient suit- 
ors in the antechamber of Regicide. They wait, it 
seems, until the sungui _ tyrant Carnot shall have 






LETTER I. 



259 



snorted away the fumes of the indigested blood of 
his sovereign. Then, when, sunk on the down of 
usurped pomp, he shall have sufficiently indulged his 
meditations with what monarch ho shall next glut 
his ravening maw, he may condescend to signify 
that it is hie pleasure to be awake, and that he is 
at leisure to receive the proposals of his high and 
mighty clients for the terms on which ho may res- 
pite the execution of tiio sentence ha has passed 
upon them. At the opening of those doors, what 
a sight it must be to behold the plenipotentiaries 
of royal impotence, in the precedency which they 
will intrigue to obtain, and which will be granted 
to them according to the seniority of their degrada- 
tion, sneaking into the Regicide presence, and, with 
the relics of the smile which they had dressed up 
for the levee of their masters still flickering on their 
curled lips, presenting the faded remains of their 
courtly graces, to meet the scornful, ferocious, sar- 
donic grin of a bloody ruffian, who, whilst he is re- 
ceiving their homage, is measuring them with his 
eye, and fitting to their size the slider of his guillo- 
tine ! These ambassadors may easily return as good 
courtiers us they went; but can they ever return 
from that degrading residence loyal and "-ful sub- 
jects, or with any true affection to th^a aster, or 
true attachment to the constitution, religion, or laws 
of their country ? There is great danger that they, 
who enter smiling into this Trophonian cave, will 
come - it of it sad and serious conspirators, and 
such will continue as long as they live. They will 
become true conductors of contagion to every coun- 
try which has had the misfortune to send them to 
the source of that electricity. At best, they will be- 



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260 LETTEBS ON A BEGICIDB PEaCB. 

come totaUy indifferent to good and evil, to one in- 
Btitution or another. This species of indifference is 
but too generally distinguishable in those who have 
been much employed in foreign <^<^^^^ ^^f J^'^^. 
present case the evil must be aggravated without 
measure: for they go from their country not wi^ 
the pride of the old character, but in a state of tho 
lowest degradation; and what must happen m the^ 
place of residence can have no effect m raising them 
lo the level of true dignity or of chaste self-estima- 
tion, either as men or as representatives of crowned 

^^Our early proceeding, which has produced these re- 
turns of affront, appeared to me totally new, without 
being adapted to the new circumstances of affairs. 
I have called to my mind the speeches and messages 
in former times. I find nothing like these. You 
will look in the journals to find whether my memory 
fails me. Before this time, never was a ground of 
Mace laid, (as it were, in a Parliamentary record,) 
Si it had been as good as concluded This was 
a wise homage paid to the discretion of the crown. 
It was known how much a negotiation must suffer 
by having anything in the train towards it prema- 
turely disclosed. But when those Parliamentary 
declarations were made, not so much as a step had 
been taken towards a negotiation in any mode what- 
ever. The measure was an unpleasant and unsea- 
sonable discovery. , 

I conceive that another circumstance m that trans- 
action has been as little authorized by any example, 
and that it is as little prudent in itself: I ^^an the 
formal recognition of the French Repubhc. With- 
out entering, for the present, into a question on the 






LETTEB I. 



261 



good faith manifested in that measure, or on its 
general policy, I doubt, upon mere temporary con- 
siderations of prudence, whether it was perfectly 
advisable. It is not within the rules of dexterous 
coiuluct to make an acknowledgment of a con- 
tested title in your enemy before you are morally 
certain that your recognition will secure his friend- 
ship. Otherwise it is a measure worse than thrown 
away. It adds infinitely to the strength, and con- 
sequently to the demands, of the adverse party. He 
has gained a fundamental point without an equiva- 
lent. It has happened as might have been foreseen. 
No notice whatever was taken of this recognition. 
In fact, the Directory never gave themselves any 
concern about it; and they received our acknowl- 
edgment with perfect scorn. With them it is not 
for the states of Europe to judge of their title : the 
very reverse. In their eye the title of every other 
power depends wholly on their pleasiire. 

Preliminary declarations of this sort, thrown out 
at random, and sown, as it were, broadcast, were 
never to be found in the mode of our proceeding 
with France and Spain, whilst the great monarchies 
of Franco and Spain existed. I do not say that a 
diplomatic measure ought to be, like a parliamenta- 
ry or a judicial proceeding, according to strict prece- 
dent : I hope I am far from that pedantry. But this 
I know : that a great state ought to have some regard 
to its ancient maxims, especially where they indicate 
its dignity, where they concur with the rules of pru- 
dence, and, above all, where the circumstances of 
the time require that a spirit of innovation should 
be resisted which leads to the humiliation of sover- 
eign powers. It would be ridiculous to assert that 



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LETTiaS ON A BEQICTDB PEACE. 



those powers have suffered nothing in their estima. 
tion I admit that the greater interests of state will 
for a moment supersede aU other considerations ; but 
if there was a rule, that a sovereign never should 
let down his dignity without a sure payment to his 
interest, the dignity of kings would be held high 
enough. At present, however, fashion governs in 
more serious things than furniture and dress. It 
looks as if sovereigns abroad were emulous m bid- 
ding against their estimation. It seems ^ if the 
preeminence of regicide was acknowledged, -and 
that kings tacitly ranked themselves below their 
sacrUegious murderers, as natural magistrates and 
judges over them. It appears as if dignity were 
the prerogative of crime, and a temporizing humilia- 
tion the proper part for venerable authority. If the 
vilest of mankind are resolved to be the most wicked, 
they lose all the baseness of their origin, and take 
their place above kings. This example in foreign 
princes I trust will not spread. It is the concern 
of mankind, that the destruction of order should not 
be a claim to rank, that crimes should not be the 
only title to preeminence and honor. 

At this second stage of humiliation, (I mean the in- 
sulting declaration in consequence of the message to 
both Houses of Parliament,) it might not have been 
amiss to pause, and not to squander away the fund 
of our submissions, until we knew what iinal purposes 
of public interest they might answer. The policy of 
subjecting ourselves to further insults is not to me 
quite apparent. It was resolved, however, to hazard 
a third trial. Citizen Barth^lemy had been estab- 
lished, on the part of the new republic, at Basle, - 
where, with his proconsulate of Switzerland and the 



LETTEB I. 



263 



adjacent parts of Oermany, he was appointed as a sort 
of factor to deal in the degradation of the crowned 
heads of Europe. At Basle it was thought proper, in 
order to keep others, I suppose, in countenance, that 
Great Britain should appear at this market, and bid 
with the rest for the mercy of the People-King. 

On the 6th of March, 1796, Mr. Wickham, in con- 
sequence of authority, was desired to sound France 
on her disposition towards a general pacification, — 
to know whether she would consent to send ministers 
to a congress at such a place as might be hereafter 
agreed upon, — whether there would be a disposition 
to communicate the general grounds of a pacification, 
such as Prance (the diplomatic name of the Regicide 
power) would be willing to propose, as a foundation 
for a negotiation for peace with his Majesty and Ms 
allies, or to suggest any other way of arriving at the 
same end of a general pacification: but he had no 
authority to enter into any negotiation or discussion 
with Citizen Barth^lemy upon these subjects. 

On the part of Great Britain this measure was a 
voluntary act, wholly uncalled for on the part of Regi- 
cide. Suits of this sort are at least strong indica- 
tions of a desire for accommodation. Any other body 
of men but the Directory would be somewhat soothed 
with such advances. They could not, however, be- 
gin their answer, which was given without much 
delay, and communicated on the 28th of the same 
mouth, without a preamble of insult and reproach. 
" They doubt the sincerity of the pacific intentions 
of this court." She did not begin, say they, yet to 
"know her real interests." " She did not seek peace 
with good faith." This, or something to this effect, 
has been the constant preliminary observation (now 



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LETTEBS ON A. REGICIDE PEACE. 



grown into a sort of office form) on all our overtures 
to this power : a perpetual charge on the British gov- 
ernment of fraud, evasion, and habitual perfidy. 

It might be asked, From whence did these opinions 
of our insincerity and ill faith arise ? It was because 
the British ministry (leaving to the Directory, howev- 
er, to propose a better mode) proposed a congress for 
the purpose of a general pacification, and this they 
said " would render negotiation endless." From 
hence they immediately inferred a fraudulent uiten- 
tion in the offer. Unquestionably their mode of giv- 
ing the law would bring matters to a more speedy 
conclusion. As to any other method more agreeable 
to them than a congress, an alternative expressly pro- 
posed to them, they did not condescend to signify 
their pleasure. 

This refusal of treating conjointly with the powers 
allied against this republic furnishes matter for a 
great deal of serious reflection. They have hitherto 
constantly declined any other than a treaty with a 
single power. By thus dissociating every state from 
erery other, like deer separated from the herd, each 
power is treated with on the merit of his being a 
deserter from tlie common cause. In that light, the 
Regicide power, finding each of them insulated and 
unprotected, with great facility gives the law to them 
all. By this system, for the present an incurable dis- 
trust is sown amongst confederates, and in future all 
alliance is rendered impracticable. It is thus they 
have treated with Prussia, with Spain, with Sardinia, 
with Bavaria, with the Ecclesiastical State, with Sax- 
ony ; and here we see them refuse to treat with Great 
Britain in any other mode. They must be worse than 
blind who do not see with what undeviating regu- 



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LETTEB I. 



265 



larity of sjstem, in this case and in all cases, they 
pursue their scheme for the utter destruction of 
every independent power, — especially the smaller, 
who cannot find any refuge whatever but in some 
common cause. 

Renewing their taunts and reflections, they tell 
Mr. Wickham, " that their policy has no guides but 
openness and good faith, and that their conduct shall, 
be conformable to these principles." They say con- 
cerning their government, that, " yielding to the ar- 
dent desire by which it is animated to procure peace 
for the French Republic and for all nations, it will not 
fear to declare itself openly. Charged by the Constitu- 
tion with the execution of the lavts, it cannot make or 
litten to any proposal that wo"iM be contrary to them. 
The constitutional act does not permit it to consent to 
any alienation of that which, according to the existing 
laws, constitutes the territory of the Republic." 

" With respect to the countries occupied hy ti;e 
French armies, and which have rM been united lo 
France, they, as well as other interests, political and 
commercial, may become che subject of a negotiation, 
which will present to the Directory the means of prov- 
ing how much it desires to attain speedily to a happy 
pacification." That "the Directory is ready to re- 
ceive, in this respect, any overtures that shall be just, 
reasonable, and compatible with the dignity of the Be- 
public.^' 

On the head of what is not to be the subject of 
negotiation, the Directory is clear and open. As to 
what may be s matter of treaty, all this open deal- 
ing is gone. Sue letires into her shell. There she 
expects overtures from you: and you are to guess 
what she sliall judge just, reasor -ble, and, above all, 
compatible with her dignity. 






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LETTEBS ON A BEGICIDB PEACB. 



In the records of pride there does not exist so in- 
sulting a declaration. It is insolent in words, in 
manner; but in substance it is not only insulting, 
but alarming. It is a specimen of what may be ex- 
pected from the masters we are preparing for our 
humbled country. Their openness and candor con- 
sist in a direct avowal of their despotism and ambi- 
tion. We know that their declared resolution had 
been to surrender no object belonging to France pre- 
vious to the war. They had resolved that the Re- 
public was entire, and must remain so. As to what 
she has conquered from the Allies and united to the 
same indivisible body, it is of the same nature. That 
is, the Allies are to give up whatever conquests they 
have made or may make upon France ; but all which 
she has violently ravished from her neighbors, and 
thought fit to appropriate, are not to become so much 
as objects of negotiation. 

In this unity and indivisibility of possession are 
sunk ten immense and wealthy provinces, full of 
strong, flourishing, and opulent cities, (the Austrian 
Netheriands,) the part of Europe the most necessary 
to preserve any communication between this kingdom 
and its natural aUies, next to Holland the most in- 
teresting to this coiintry, and without which Holland 
must virtually belong to France. Savoy and Nice, 
the keys of Italy, and the citadel in her hands to 
bridle Switzerland, are in that consolidation. Tlio 
important territory of Liege is torn out of the heart 
of the Empire. All these are integrant parts of the 
Republic, not to be subject to any discussion, or to be 
purchased by any equivalent. Why? Because there 
is a law which prevents it. What law ? The law of 
nations ? The acknowledged public law of Europe ? 



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LECTEB I. 



267 



Tree*'.es and conventions of parties? No, — not a 
pretence of the kind. It is a declaration not made 
in consequence of any prescription on her side, — not 
on any cession or dereliction, actual or tacit, of other 
powers. It is a declaration, pendente lite, in the mid- 
dle of a war, one principal object of which was o igi- 
nally the defence, and has since been the recovery, 
of these very countries. 

Tliis strange law is not made for a trivial object, 
not for a single port or for a single fortress, but for 
a great kingdom, — for the religion, the morals, the 
laws, the liberties; the lives and fortunes of millions 
of human creatures, who, without their consent or 
that of their lawful government, are, by an arbitrary 
act of this regicide and homicide government which 
they call a law, incorporated into their tyranny. 

In other words, their will is the law, not only at 
home, but as to the concerns of every nation. Who 
has made that law but the Regicide Republic itself, 
whose laws, like those of the Modes and Persians, 
they cannot alter or abrogate, or even so much as 
take into consideration ? Without the least ceremony 
or compliment, they have sent out of the world whole 
sets of laws and lawgivers. They have swept away 
the very constitutions xmder which the legislatures 
acted and the laws were made. Even the funda- 
mental sacred rights of man they have not scrupled 
to pr jfane. They have set this holy code at nought 
with ignominy and scorn. Thus they treat all their 
domestic laws and constitutions, and even wliat they 
had considered as a law of Nature. But whatever 
they have put their seal on, for the purposes of their 
ambition, and the ruin of their neighbors, this alone 
is invulnerable, impassible, immortal. Assuming to 



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LBTTEBS ON A BEOICIDJ! PEACE. 



be masters of everything human and divine, here, and 
here alone, it seems, they are lunited, " cooped and 
cabined in," and this omnipotent legislature finds 
itself wholly without the power of exercising its fa- 
vorite attribute, the love of peace. In other words, 
they are powerful to usurp, impotent to restore; 
and equally by their power and their impotence 
they aggrandize themselves, and weaken and impov- 
erish you and all other nations. 

Nothing can be more proper or more manly than 
the state publication, called a Note, on this proceed- 
ing, dated Downing Street, the 10th of April, 1796. 
Only that it is better expressed, it perfectly agrees 
with the opinion I have taken the liberty of submit- 
ting to your consideration. I place it below at full 
length,* as my justification in thinking that this as- 
tonishing paper from the Directory is not only a di- 
rect negative to all treaty, but is a rejection of every 
principle upon which treaties could be made. To 
admit it for a moment were to erect this power, 
usurped at home, into a legislature to govern man- 
kind. It is an authority that on a thousand occa- 

• « This Court has seen, with regret, how far the tone and spirit 
of that answer, the nature and extent of the demands which it con- 
tains, and the manner of announcing them, are remote from any dis- 
position for peace. 

" The inadmissihle pretension is there avowed of appropriating to 
France all that the laws actually existing there may have comprised 
under the denomination of French territory. To a demand such as 
this is added an express declaration that no proposal contrary to it 
will he made or even listened to : and this, under the pretence of 
an internal regulation, the provisions of which are wholly foreign to 
all other nations. 

" YThile these dispositions shall be persisted in, nothing is left for 
the king but to prosecute a war equally just and necessarj . 

"Whenever his enemies shall manifest more pacific sentiments, 



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269 



sions they have asserted in claim, and, whenever 
they are able, exerted in practice. The dereliction 
of this whole scheme of policy became, therefore, an 
indispensable previous condition to all renewal of 
treaty. The remark of the British Cabinet on this 
arrogant and tyrannical claim is natural and una- 
voidable. Our ministry state, that, " while these dit- 
positions shall be persisted in, nothing is left for the 
king but to prosecute a war that is Just and necessary." 
It was of course that we should wait until the en- 
emy showed some sort of disposition on his part to 
fulfil tl''s condition. It was hoped, indeed, that our 
suppliant strains might be suffered to iteal into the 
august ear in a more propitious season. That sea- 
son, however, invoked by so many vows, conjurations, 
and prayers, did not come. Every declaration of hos- 
tility renovated, and every act pursued with double 
animosity, — the overrunning of Lombardy, — the 
subjugation of Piedmont, — the possession of its im- 
pregnable fortresses, — the seizing on all the neutral 
states of Italy, — our expulsion from Leghorn, — 
instances forever renewed for otir expulsion from 
Genoa, — Spain rendered subject to them and hostile 
to , — Portugal bent under the yoke, — half the 






his Majesty will at all times be eager to concnr in them, by lending 
himself, in concert with his allies, to all snch measures as shall be 
best calculated to reestablish general tranqoillity on conditions jnst, 
honorable, and permanent : either by the establishment of a congress, 
which has been so often and so happily the means of restoring peace 
to Earope ; or by a preliminary discnssion of the principles which 
may be proposed, on either side., as a foundation of a general pacifi- 
cation; or, lastly, by an impartial examination of any other way 
which may be pointed ont to him for arriving at the same salutary 
end. 

•'Downing Street, April \Oth, 1796." 



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LffiTiatS ON A BEOICTDE PEACE. 



Empire oTcmin and ravaged, — were the only signs 
which this mild Republic thought proper to mani- 
fest of her pacific sentiments. Every demonstration 
of an implacable rancor and an untamable pride 
were the only encouragements we received to the 
renewal of our supplications. 

Here, therefore, they and we were fixed. Nothing 
was left to the British ministry but " to prosecute a 
war just and necessary," — a war equally just as at 
the time of our criLraging in it, — a war become ten 
times more necessary by everything which happened 
afterwards. This resolution was soon, however, for- 
got. It felt the heat of the season and melted away. 
New hopes were entertained from supplication. No 
expectations, indeed, were then formed from renew- 
ing a direct application to the French Regicides 
through the agent-general for the humiliation of 
sovereigns. At length a step was taken in degrada- 
tion which even went lower than all the rest. De- 
ficient in merits of our own, a mediator was to be 
sought, — and we looked for that mediator at Berlin ! 
The King of Prussia's merits in abandoning the gen- 
eral cause might have obtained for him some sort of 
influence in favor of those whom he had deserted ; 
but I have never heard that his Prussian Majesty had 
lately discovered so marked an affection for the Court 
of St. James's, or for the Court of Vienna, as to ex- 
cite much hope of his interposing a very powerful 
mediation to deliver them from the distresses into 
which he had brought them. 

If humiliation is the element in which we live, if 
it is become not only our occasional policy, but our 
habit, no great objection can be made to the modes 
in which it may be diversified, — though I confess I 



-^«|A, 



( » 



LETTER I. 



271 



cannot be charmed with the idea of our exposing our 
lazar sores at the door of every proud servitor of the 
French Ropublic, where the court dogs will not deign 
to lick them. We had, if I am not mistaken, a min- 
ister at that court, who might try its temper, and 
recede and advance as he found backwardness or 
encouragement. But to send a gentleman there on 
no other errand than this, and with no assurance 
whatever that he should not find, what he did find, 
a repulse, seems to me to go far beyond all the de- 
mands of a humiliation merely politic. I hope it 
did not arise from a predilection for that mode of 
conduct. 

The cup of bitterness was not, however, drained 
to the dregs. Basle and /^rlin were not sufficient. 
After so many and so divereified repulses, we were 
resolved to make another experiment, and to try 
another mediator. Among the unhappy gentlemen 
in whose persons royalty is insulted and degraded 
at the seat of plebeian pride and upstart insolence, 
there is a minister from Denmark at Paris. With- 
out any previous encouragement to that, any more 
than the other steps, we sent through this turnpike 
to demand a passport for a person who on our part 
was to solicit peace in the metropolis, at the footstool 
of Regicide itself. It was not to be expected that 
any one of those degraded beings could have influ- 
ence enough to settle any part of the terms in favor 
of the candidates for further degradation ; besides, 
such intervention would be a direct breach in their 
system, which did not permit one sovereign power 
to utter a word in the concerns of his equal. — 
Another repulse. We were desired to apply direct- 
ly in our persons. We submitted, and made the 

plication. 



I 



srs 



wflTTEBS OM A Bf»iaDE PEACE. 



;ii' 




1 1 



It might be thought that here, at length, we had 
touched the bottom of humiliation; our lead wa> 
brought up covered with mud. But " in the lowest 
deep, a lower deep" was to open for us still more 
profound abysses of disgrace and shame. However, 
in we leaped. We came forward in our own name. 
The passpf t, such a passport and safe-conduct aa 
would be granted to thieves who mL ht come in to 
betray thoir uecomplices, and no better, was granted 
to British supplication. To leave no doubt of its 
spirit, as soon as the rumor of this act of conde- 
scension could get abroad, it was formally announced 
with an explanation from authority, containing an in- 
vective against the ministry of Great Britain, their 
habitual frauds, their proverbial Funic perfidy. No 
such state-paper, as a preliminary to a negotiation 
for peace, has ever yet appeared. "Very few dec- 
larations of war have ever shown so much and so 
unqualified animosity. I place it below,* as a dip- 

• Official Note, extracted from the Journal of the Defenders of th» 
Country. 

" EXKCDTIVB DiBECTOKT. 

" Different journals have advanced that an English plenipotentiary 
bad reached Paris, and had presented himself to the Executive Direc- 
tory, but that, his propositions not having appeared satisfactory, he 
had received orders instantly to quit France. 

"All these assertions are equai.^ false. 

" The notices given in the English papers of a minister having 
been sent to Paris, there to treat of peace, bring to recollection the 
overtures of Mr. Wickham to the ambassador of the Republic at 
Basle, and the rumors circulated relative to the mission of Mr. Ham- 
mond to tL.! Court of Prussia. The inngnificance, or rather the subtle 
duplicity, the PUNIC style of Mr. Wickham's note, is not forgotten. 
According to the partisans of the English ministry, it was to Paris 
that Mr. Hammond was to come to speak for peace. When his des- 
tination became public, and it was known that he went to Prussia, 



i 



USTTER I. 



273 



lomatic OHriosity, and in order to bo tho better nn- 
derstood in tbe few remarks I have to make upon 
■I peace which, "ndeed, defies all description. " None 
Imt it- 'f can be its parallel." 

I pass by all the itjsolence and contumely of the 
performance, as it comes from them. The present 

the lame writer repeated that It was to accelerate • peace, and not- 
withstanding the object, now well known, of thiv negotiation wai to 
engage Prussia to break hor treaties with the Republic, and to retnm 
into the coalition. The Court of Berlin, faithful to iu engagementt, 
repulsed these /^r/Wiou* propositions. But in converting this in- 
trigue into a mission for paace, the English ministry joined to the 
hope of giving a new enemy to France that ofjuttifying the continuanct 
of the war in the eyet of the Engluh nation, and of throwing all the odium 
of it on the French government. Such was aiso the aim of Mr. Wick- 
ham's note. Such it aiU that of the notices given at this lime in the E, - 
liih p^pen. 

" This lim will appear evident, if w ■ reflect how difficult it is that 
the ambitious government of England should sincerely wish foi a 
peace that would match Jmrn it iti mm-itime preponderaney, wou!d reSt- 
labliah the freedom of the teas, would give a new impulse to the Spanish, 
Dutch, and French marines, and would carry to the highest degree of 
prosperity the industry and commerce of those nations in which it 
has always found rivals, und which it has considered as enemitt of its 
commerce, when they were tired of bwing its dupet. 

" But there will no longer be any credit given to the pac\/ic intentions of 
the English ministry, when it is known that its gold and its intrigues, ilt 
open practicet and itt insimuUions, besiege more than ever the Cabinet of 
Vienna, and are one of the principal obstacles to the negotiation which that 
Cabinet would of itself be induced to enter on for peace. 

" They will no longer be credited, finally, when the moment of the 
rumor of these overtures being circulated is considered. Tlie English 
nation supports impatiently the continuance of the war ; a reply must be 
made to its complaints, itt reproaches : the Parliament is about to reopen 
its sittings ; the mouths of the orators who will declaim against the 
war must be shut, the demand of new taxes -nust be justifieC ; and to 
obtain these results, it is necessary to bo enujled to advance, that the 
French government refuses every reasonable proposition of peace." 

VOL. V. 18 



m 1 



274 



LETTERS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



",'1 



question is not, how we are to be affected with it in 
regard to our dignity. That is gone. I shall say 
no more about it. Light lie the earth on the ashes 
of English pride ! I shall only observe upon it polit- 
ically, and as furnishing a direction for our own con- 
duct in this low business. 

The very idea of a negotiation for peace, whatever 
the inward sentiments of the parties may be, implies 
some confidence in their faith, some degree of belief 
in the professions which are made concerning it. A 
temporary and occasional credit, at least, is granted. 
Other \vise men stumble on the very threshold. I 
therefore wish to ask what hope we can have of their 
good faith, who, as the very basis of the negotiation, 
assume the ill faith and treachery of those they have 
to deal with ? The terms, as against us, must be 
such as imply a full secarity against a treacherous 
conduct, — that is, such terms as this Directory stat- 
ed in its first declaration, to place us " in an utter 
impossibility of executing our wretched projects." 
This is the omen, and the sole omen, under which 
we have consented to open our treaty. 

The second observation I have to make upon it 
(much connected, undoubtedly, with the first) is, 
that they have informed you of the result they pro- 
pose from the kind of peace they mean to grant you, 
— that is to say, tlie union they propose among na- 
tions with the view of rivalling our trade and de- 
stroying our naval power ; and this tliey suppose 
(and with good r-- ^n, too) must be the inevitable 
effect of their peace. It forms one of their principal 
grounds for suspecting our ministers could not be 
in good earnest in their proposition. They make no 
scruple beforehand to tell you the whole of what 



■■ (' 



LETTER I. 



275 



they intend ; and this is what we call, in the mod- 
ern style, the acceptance of a proposition for peace ! 
In old language it would be called a most haughty, 
offensive, and insolent rejection of all treaty. 

Thirdly, they tell you what they conceive to be the 
perfidious policy which dictates your delusive offer: 
that is, the design of cheating not only them, but the 
people of England, against whose interest and incli- 
nation this war is supposed to be carried on. 

If we proceed in this business, under this prelim- 
inary declaration, it seems to me that we admit, 
(now for the third time,) by something a great deal 
stronger than words, the truth of tlie charges of 
every kind which they make upon the British min- 
istry, and the grounds of those foul imputations. 
The language used by us, which in other circum- 
stances would not be exceptionable, in this case tends 
very strongly to confirm and realize the suspicion 
of our enemy : I mean the declaration, that, if we 
do not obtain such terms of peace as suits our 
opinion of what our interests require, then, and in 
that case, we shall continue the war with vigor. This 
offer, so reasoned, plainly implies, that, without it, 
our leaders themselves entertain great doubts of the 
opinion and good affections of the British people ; 
otherwise there does not appear any cause why we 
should proceed, under the scandalous construction 
of our enemy, upon the former offer made by Mr. 
Wickham, and on tlie new offer made directly at 
Paris. It is not, therefore, from a sense of dignity, 
but from the danger of radicating that false senti- 
ment in the breasts of the enemy, that I think, under 
the auspices of tliis declaration, we cannot, with the 
least hope of a good event, or, indeed, with any 



^ f ; 



276 



LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



1'"^ ^ ! 



regard to the common safety, proceed in the train 
of this negotiation. I wish ministry would seriously 
consider the importance of their seeming to confirm 
the enemy in an opinion that his frequent use of 
appeals to the people against their government has 
not been without its effect. If it puts an end to 
this war, it will render another impracticable. 

Whoever goes to the Directorial presence under 
this passport, with this offensive comment and foul 
explanation, goes, in the avowed sense of the court 
to which he is sent, as the instrument of a govern- 
ment dissociated from the interests and wishes of the 
nation, for the purpose of cheating both the people 
of France and the people of England. He goes out 
the declared emissary of a faithless ministry. He 
has perfidy for his credentials. He has national 
weakness for his full powers. I yet doubt whether 
any one can be found to invest himself with that 
character. If there should, it would be pleasant to 
read his instructions on the answer which he is to 
give to the Directory, in case they should repeat to 
him the substance of the manifesto which he carries 
with him in his portfolio. 

So much for the first manifesto of the Regicide 
Court which went along with the passport. Lest this 
declaration should seem the effect of haste, or a mere 
sudden effusion of pride and insolence, on full de- 
liberation, about a week after comes out a second. 
This manifesto is dated the 5th of October, one day 
before the speech from the throne, on the vigil of the 
festive day of cordial unanimity so happily celebrat- 
ed by all parties in the British Parliament. In this 
piece the Regicides, our worthy friends, ( I call them 
by advance and by courtesy what by law I shall be 



.■■». . ,JS 



wmgm 




LETTER I. 



277 



obliged to call them hereafter,) our worthy frieuds, 
I say, renew and enforce the former declaration con- 
cerning our faith and sincerity, which they pinned 
to our passport. On three other points, which run 
through all their declarations, they are more explicit 
than ever. 

First, they more directly undertake to be the real 
representatives of the people of this kingdom: and 
on a supposition, in which they agree with our Par- 
liamentary reformers, that the House of Commons is 
not that representative, the function being vacant, 
they, as our true constitutional organ, inform his 
Majesty and the world of the sense of the nation. 
They tell us that " the English people see with regret 
his Majesty's government squandering away the funds 
which had been granted to him." This astonishing 
assumption of the public voice of England is but a 
slight foretaste of the usurpation which, on a peace, 
we may be assured they will make of all the powers 
in all the parts of our vassal Constitution. " If they 
do these things in the green tree, what shall be done 
in the dry ? " 

Next they tell us, as a condition to our treaty, that 
"this government must abjure the unjust hatred it 
bears to them, and at last open its ears to the voice 
of humanity." Truly, this is, even from them, an 
extraordhiary demand. Hitherto, it seems, we have 
put wax into our ears, to shut them up against the 
tender, soothing strains, in the affettuoso of luiman- 
ity, warbled from .<? throats of Reubell, Carnot, 
Tallien, and the whole chorus of confiscators, domi- 
ciliary visitors, committee-men of research, jurors and 
presidents of revolutionary tribunals, regicides, assas- 
sins, nussacrers, and Septembrisers. It is not difficult 



' 



278 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



. u 



to discern what sort of hutuanitj our goverument is 
to learu from these Siren singers. Our government 
also, I admit, with some reason, as a step towards 
the proposed fraternity, is required to abjure the 
unjust hatred which it bears to this body of honor 
and virtue. I thank God I am neither a minister 
nor a leader of opposition. I protest I cannot do 
what the .osire. I could not do it, if I were under 
the guillotine, — or, as they ingeniously and pleasant- 
ly express it, "looking out of the little national 
window." Even at that opening I could receive 
none of their light. I am fortified against all such 
affections by the declaration of the government, 
which I must yet consider as lawful, made on the 
29th of October, 1793,* and still ringing in my ears. 

• " In their place has succeeded a sjstem destrnctire of all public 
order, maintained by proscriptions, exiles, and confiscations without 
number, — by arbitrary imprisonments, — by massacres which cannot 
be remembered without horror, — and at length by the execrable 
murder of a just and beneficent soverzign, and of the illustrious 
princess, who with an unshaken firmness has shared all the misfor- 
tunes of her royal consort, his protracted sufferings, his cruel cap- 
tivity, his ignominious death." — "They [the Allies] have had to 
encounter acts of aggression without pretext, open violations of all 
treaties, unprovoked declarations of war, — in a word, whatever cor- 
ruption, intrigue, or violence could effect, for the purpose, so openly 
avowed, of subverting all the institutions of society, and of exten^.ng 
over all the nations of Europe that confusion which has produced the 
misery of France. This state of things cannot exist in France, with- 
out involving all the surroundi-.ig powers in one common danger, — 
without giving them the right, without imposing it upon them as a 
duty, to stop the progress of an evil which exists only by the succes- 
sive violation of all law and all property, and which attacks the fun- 
damental principles by which mankind is united in the bonds of civil 
society." — " The king would propose none other than equitable and 
moderate conditions : not such as the expenses, the risks, and the 
sacrificeB of the war might justify, but such as his Majesty thinks 



'Ml 



■4 



LETTEB I. 



279 



This Declaration was transmitted not only to all our 
con. ^anders by sea and land, but to our ministers 
in every court of Europe. It is the most eloquent 
and highly finished in the style, the most judicious 
in the choice of topics, the most orderly in the 
arrangement, and the most rich in the coloring, 
without employing the smallest degree of exaggera- 
tion, of any state-paper that has ever yet appeared. 
An ancient writer (Plutarch, I think it is) quotes 
some verses on the eloquenc3 of Pericles, who is 
called " th< only orator that left stings in the minds 
of his hearers." Like his, the eloquence of the 
Declaration, not contradicting, but enforcing, senti- 

himself under the indispensable necessity of requiring, with a view to 
these considerations, and still more to that of bis own seruritj and of 
the future tranquillity of Europe. His Majesty desires nothing more 
sincerely than thus to terminate a war which he in vain endeavored 
to avoid, and all the calamities of which, as now experienced by- 
France, are to be attributed only to the ambition, the perfidy, and the 
violence of those whose crimes have involved their own country in 
misery and disgraced all civilized nations." — "The king promises 
on his part the suspension of hostilities, friendship, and (as far as 
the course of events will allow, of which the will of man cannot dis- 
pose) security and protection to all those who, by declrring for a 
monarchical government, shall shake off the yoke of a sanguinary 
anarchy : of that anarchy which has broken all the most sacred 
bonds of society, dissolved all *' Wtions of civil life, violated every 
right, confounded every duty uses the name of liberty to exer- 

cise the most cruel tyranny, t .ilate all propert, . seize on all 

possessions ; which founds its p»wer on the pretended consent of the 
people, and itself carries fire and sword tnrough extensive provinces 
for having demanded their laws, their religion, and their lawjxil 
sovereign." 

Declaration sent by his Majesty's command to the commanders 
of his Majesty's fleets and armies employed against France, 
and to his Majesty's ministers employed at foreign courts. 
WhMuill, Oct. 29, 1793 



!, 



"I I 



1 I 



aabSHifi__>K^ 



280 



LETTEBS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



m 



>• < 



meuts of the truest humanity, has left stings that 
have penetrated more than skin-deep into my mind ; 
and never can they be extracted by all the surgery 
of murder ; never can the throbbiugs they have cre- 
ated be assuaged by all the emollient cataplasms of 
robbery and confiscation. I cannot love the Republic. 
The third point, which they have more clearly ex- 
pressed than evor, is of equal importance with the 
rest, and with them furnishes a complete view of the 
Regicide system. For they demand as a condition, 
v/ithout which cut ambassador of obedience cannot 
be received with any hope of success, that he shall be 
*' provided with full powers to negotiate a peace be- 
tween the French Republic and Great Britain, and 
to conclude it definitively between the two powers." 
With their spear they draw a circle about us. They 
will hear thing of a joint treaty. We must make 
a peace separately from our allies. We must, as 
the very first and preliminary step, be guilty of that 
perfidy towards our friends and associates with which 
they reproach us in our transactions with them, our 
enemies. We are called upon scandalously to betray 
the fundamental securities to ourselves and to all na- 
tions. In my opinion, (it is perhaps but a poor one,) 
if we are meanly bold enough to send an ambassador 
such as this official note of the enemy requires, we 
cannot even dispatch our emissary without danger of 
beuig charged with a breach of our alliance. Gov- 
ernment now understands the full meaning of the 
passport. 

Strange revolutions have happened in the ways of 
thinking and in the feelings of men ; but it is a very 
extraordinary coalition of parties indeed, and a khid 
of unheard-of unanimity in public councils, which can 



LEITEB I. 



281 






impose this new-discovered system of negotiation, as 
sound national policy, on tlie understanding of a 
spectator of this wonderful scene, who judges on the 
principles of anything he ever before saw, read, or 
heard of, and, above all, on the understanding of a 
person who has in his eye the transactions of the last 
seven years. 

I know it is supposed, that, if good terms of capitu- 
lation are not granted, after we have thus so repeat- 
edly hung out the white flag, the national spirit will 
revive with tenfold ardor. This is an experiment 
cautiously to be made. Reculer pour mieux muter, 
according to the French byword, cannot be trusted 
to as a general rule of conduct. To diet a man in- 
to weakness and languor, afterwards to give him the 
greater strength, has more of the empiric than the ra- 
tional physician. It is true that some persons have 
been kicked into courage, — and this is no bad hint 
to give to those who are too for-vard and liberal in 
bestowing insults and outrages on their passive com- 
panions ; but such a course does not at first view 
appear a well-chosen discipline to form men to a nice 
sense of honor or a quick resentment of injuries. A 
long habit of humiliation does not seem a very good 
preparative to manly and vigorous sentiment. It may 
not leave, perhaps, enough of energy in the mind fair- 
ly to discern what are good terms or wliat are not. 
Men low and dispirited may regard those terms as not 
at all amiss which in another state of mind tliey would 
think intolerable : if they grow peevish in this state 
of mind, tliey may be roused, not against the enemy 
whom they have been taught to fear, but against the 
ministry,* who are more within their reach, and who 

* << U. lethargicus bic, com fit pagil, et medicum urget." — Hob. 



1 



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1 



I 



282 



LETTEBS ON A BEGICIOE PEACE. 



w 



have refused conditions that are not unreasonable, 
from power that they hare been taught to consider 
as irresistible. 

If all that for some months I have heard have the 
least foundation, (I hope it has not,) the ministers 
are, perhaps, not quite so much to be blamed as their 
condition is to be lamented. I have been given to 
understand that these proceedings are not in their ori- 
gin properly theirs. It is said that there is a secret in 
the House of Commons. It is said that ministers act, 
not according to the votes, but according to the dis- 
positions, of the majority. I hear that the minority 
has long since spoken the general sense of the nation ; 
and that to prevent those who compose it from having 
the open and avowed lead in that House, or perhaps 
in both Houses, it was necessary to preoccupy their 
ground, and to take their propositions out of their 
mouths, even with the hazard of being afterwards re- 
proached with a compliance which it was foreseen 
would be fruitless. 

If the general disposition of the people be, as I hear 
it i3, for an immediate peace with Regicide, without 
so much as considering our public and solemn en 
gagemeuts to the party in France whose cause we 
had espoused, or the engagements expressed in our 
general alliances, not only without an inquiry into 
the terms, but with a certain knowledge that none 
but the worst terms will be offered, it is all over with 
us. It is strange, but it may be true, that, as the 
danger from Jacobinism is increased in my eyes 
and in yours, the fear of it is lessened in the eyes of 
many people \/ho formerly regarded it with horror. 
It seems, they act under the impression of terrors of 
another sort, which have frightened them out of their 



:i iff 



C''. 



LEITEB I. 



first apprehensions. But let their fears, or their 
hopes, or their desires, be what they will, they should 
recollect that they who would make peace without a 
previous knowledge of the terms make a surrender. 
They are conquered. They do not treat ; they receive 
the law. Is this the dispo'' on of the people of Eng- 
land ? Then the people of England are contented to 
seek in the kindness of a foreign, systematic enemy, 
combined with a dangerous faction at home, a securi- 
ty which they cannot find in their own patriotism and 
their own courage. They are willing to trust to the 
sympathy of regicides the guaranty of the British 
monarchy. They are content to rest their religion 
on the piety of atheists by establishment. They are 
satisfied to seek in the clemency of practised murder- 
ers the security of their lives. They are pleased to 
confide their property to the safeguard of those who 
are robbers by inclinatioH, interest, habit, and system. 
If this be our deliberate mind, truly we deserve to 
lose, what it is impossible we should long retain, the 
name of a nation. 

Li matters of state, a constitutional competence to 
act is in many cases the smallest part of the question. 
Without disputing (God forbid I should dispute !) 
the sole competence of the king and the Parliament, 
each in its province, to decide on war and peace, I 
venture to say no war can be long carried on against 
the will of the people. This war, in particular, can- 
not be carried on, unless they are enthusiastically in 
favor of it. Acquiescence will not do. There must 
be zeal. Universal zeal in sucli a cause, and at such 
a time as this is, cannot be looked for ; neither is it 
necessary. Zeal in the larger part carries the force 
of the whole. Without this, no government, cer- 



\ 



S84 



LKTTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



n 



■ li 



h 



r '1^ 



iv 



:*^ ■ 



tainlj not our government, is capable of a great war. 
None of the ancient, regular governments have where- 
withal to fight abroad with a foreign foe, and at home 
to overcome repining, reluctance, and chicane. It 
must be some portentous thing, like Regicide France, 
that can exhibit such a prodigy. Yet even she, the 
mother of monsters, more prolific than the country 
of old called ferax monatrorum, shows symptoms of 
being almost efiete already ; and she will be so, un- 
less the fallow of a peace comes to recruit her fertil- 
ity. But whatever may be represented concerning 
the meanness of the popular spirit, I, for one, do not 
think 60 desperately of the British nation. Our 
minds, as I said, are light, but they are not de- 
praved. We are dreadfully open to delusion and 
to dejection ; but we are capable of being animated 
and undeceived. 

It cannot be concealed : we are a divided people. 
But in divisions, where a part is to be taken, we are 
to make a muster of our strength. I have often en- 
deavored to compute and to class those who, in any 
political view, are to be called the people. Without 
doing something of this sort, we must proceed ab- 
surdly. We should not be much wiser, if we pre- 
tended to very great accuracy in our estimate ; but I 
think, in the calculation I have made, the error can- 
not be very material. In England and Scotland, I 
compute that those of adult age, not deuiniug in life, 
of tolerable leisure for such discussions, and of some 
means of information, more or less, and who are 
above menial dependence, (or what virtually is such,) 
may amount to about four hundred thousand. There 
is such a thing as a natural representative of the peo- 
ple. This body is that representative; and on this 



[■t 



LETTEB I. 



285 



body, more tlian on the legal constituent, the arti- 
ficial representative depends. This is the British 
public ; and it is a public very numerous. The rest, 
when feeble, are the objects of protection, — when 
strong, the means of force. They who affect to 
consider that part of us in any other light insult 
while they cajole us ; they do not want us for coun- 
selors in deliberation, but to list us as soldiers for 
battle. 

Of these four hundred thousand political citizens, 
I look upon one fifth, or about eighty thousand, to be 
pure Jacobins, utterly incapable of amendment, ob- 
jects of eternal vigilance, and, when tliey break out, 
of legal constraint. On these, no reason, no argu- 
ment, no example, no venerable authority, can have 
the slightest influence. They desire a change ; and 
they will have it, if they can. If they cannot have it 
by English cabal, they vill make no sort of scruple 
of having it by the cabal of France, into which already 
they are virtually incorporated. It is only their as- 
sured and confident expectation of the advantages of 
French fraternity, and the approaching blessings of 
Regicide intercourse, that skins over their mischiev- 
ous dispositions with a momentary quiet. 

This minority is great and formidable. I do not 
know whether, if I aimed at the total overthrow of a 
kingdom, I should wish to j incumbered with a 
larger body of partisans, 'ihey are more easily dis- 
ciplined and directed than if the number were greater. 
These, by their spirit of intrigue, and by their restless 
agitating activity, are of a force far superior to their 
numbers, and, if times grew the least critical, have 
the means of debauching or L.timidating many of 
those who are now sound, as well as of adding to 



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LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



their force large bodies of the more passive part of 
the nation. This minority is numerous enough to 
make a mighty cry for peace, or for war, or for any 
object they are led vehemently to desire. By passing 
from place to place with a velocity incredible, and di- 
Tersifying their character and description, they are 
capable of mimicking the general voice. We must 
not always judge of the generality of the opinion by 
the noise of the acclamation. 

The majcrity, the other four fifths, is perfectly 
sound, and of the best possible disposition to religion, 
to government, to the true and undivided interest of 
their country. Such men are naturally disposed to 
peace. They in possession of all they wish 

are languid ai. ^ent. With this fault, (and 

I admit its exist ^ its extent,) they would 

not endure to hear oi - ,. . .ce that led to the ruin of 
everything for which peace is dear to them. How- 
ever, the desire of peace is essentially the weak side 
of that kind of men. All men that are ruined are 
ruined on the side of their natural propensities. 
There they are unguarded. Above all, good men 
do not suspect that their destruction is attempted 
through their virtues. This their enemies are per- 
fectly aware of; and accordingly they, the most tur- 
bulent of mankind, who never made a scruple to 
shake the tranquillity of their country to its centre, 
raise a continual cry for peace with France. " Peace 
with Regicide, and war with the rest of the world," 
is their motto. From the beginning, and even whilst 
tlie French gave the blows, and we hardly opposed 
the vis inertice to their efforts, from that day to this 
hour, like importunate Guinea-fowls, crying one note 
day and night, they have called for peace. 



i-^ 



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LETTEB I. 



-S7 



In this thej aro, as T confess in all things they are, 
perfectly consistent. They who wish to unite them- 
selves to your enemies naturally desire that you 
should disarm yourself by a peace with these ene- 
mies. But it passes my conception how they who 
wish well to their country on its ancient system of 
laws and manners come not to be doubly alarmed, 
when tliey find notliing but a clamor for peace in tiie 
mouths of the men on eartli the Icnst disposed tr» it 
in their natural or in their habitual character. 

I have a good opinion of the general abilities of the 
Jacobins : not that I suppose them better born than 
others ; but strong passions awaken tlie faculties ; 
they suffer not a particle of the man to bo lost. The 
spirit of enterprise gives to this description the full 
use.of all their native energies. If I have reason to 
conceive that my enemy, wlio. as such, must have an 
interest in my destruction, is also a person of discern- 
ment and sagacity, then I must be quite sure, that, 
in a contest, the object ho violently pursues is the 
very thing by which my ruin is liltely to be the most 
perfectly accomplished. Why do the Jacobins cry 
for peace ? Because they know, that, this point 
gained, the rest will follow of course. On oiir part, 
why are all the rules of prudence, as sure as the laws 
of material Nature, to be at this time reversed ? 
How comes it, tliat now, for the first time, men think 
it right to be governed by the counsels of their ene- 
mies ? Ought they not ratlier to tremble, wlien they 
are persuaded to travel on the same road and to tend 
to the same place of rest ? 

The minority I speak of is not i asceptible of an 
impression from the topics of argument to be used to 
the larger part of the community. I therefore do not 



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LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



H 



address to them any part of what I have to say. The 
more forcibly I drive my arguments against their sys- 
tem, so as to make an impression where I wish to 
make it, the more strongly I rivet them in their sen- 
timents. As for us, who compose the far larger, and 
what I call the far better part of the people, let me 
say, that we have not been quite fairly dealt with, 
when called to this deliberation. The Jacobin mi- 
nority have been abundantly supplied with stores and 
provisions of all kinds towards their warfare. No 
sort of argumentative materials, suited to their pur- 
poses, have been withheld. False they are, unsound, 
sophistical ; but they are regular in their direction. 
They all bear one way, and they all go to the support 
of the substantial merits of their cause. The others 
have not had the question so much as fairly stated to 
them. 

There has not been in this century any foreign 
peace or war, in its origin the fruit of popular de- 
sire, except the war that was made with Spain in 
1739. Sir Kobert Walpole was forced into the war 
by the people, who were inflamed to this measure by 
the most leading politicians, by the first orators, and 
the greatest poets of the time. For that war Pope 
sang his dying notes. For that war Johnson, in 
more energetic strains, employed the voice of his 
early genius. For that war Glover distinguished 
himself in the way in which his muse was the most 
natural and happy. The crowd readily followed the 
politicians in the cry for a war which threatened lit- 
tle bloodshed, and which promised victories that were 
attended with something more solid than glory. A 
war with Spain was a war of plunder. In the pres- 
ent conflict with Regicide, Mr. Pitt has not hitherto 



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LETTEB 1. 



289 



had, nor will perhaps for a few days have, many 
prizes to hold out in the lottery of war, to tempt 
the lower part of our character. He can only main- 
tain it by an appeal to the higher ; and to those in 
whom that higher part is the most predominant he 
must look the most for his support. "Whilst he holds 
out no inducements to the wise nor bribes to the ava- 
ricious, he may be forced by a vulgar cry into a 
peace ten times more ruinous than the most disas- 
trous war. The weaker he is in the fund of motives 
which apply to our avarice, to our laziness, and to 
our lassitude, if he means to carry the war to any 
end at all, the stronger he ought to be in his ad- 
dresses to our magnanimity and to our reason. 

In stating that Walpole was driven by a popular 
clamor into a measure not to be justified, I do not 
mean wholly to excuse his conduct. My time of ob- 
servation did not exactly coincide with that event; 
but I read much of the controversies then carried 
on. Several years after the contests of parties had 
ceased, the people were amused, and in a degree 
warmed with them. The events of that era seemed 
then of magnitude, which the revolutions of our time 
have reduced to parochial importance ; and the de- 
bates which then shook the nation now appear of no 
higher moment than a discussion in a vestry. When 
1 was very young, a general fashion told me I was to 
admire some of the writings against that minister ; a 
little more maturity taught me as much to despise 
them. I observed one fault in his general proceed- 
ing. He never manfully put forward the entire 
strength of his cause. He temporized, he managed, 
and, adopting very nearly the sentiments of his ad- 
versaries, he opposed their inferences. This, for a 



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LETTERS ON A BEGICTDE PEACE. 



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political commander, is the choice of a weak post. 
His adversaries had the better of the argument as 
he handled it, not as the reason and justice of his 
cause enabled him to manage it. I say this, after 
having seen, and with some care examined, the origi- 
nal documents concerning certain important transac- 
tions of those times. They per'', ctly satisfied me of 
the extreme injustice of that \a-, and of the false- 
hood of the colors which, to hi .-^n ruin, mid guid- 
ed by a mistaken policy, he sunored to be daubed 
over that measure. Some years after, it was my for- 
tune to converse with many of the principal actors 
against that minister, and with those who principally 
excited i\isxt clamor. None of them, no, not one, did 
in the least defend the measure, or attempt to justify 
their conduct. They condemned it as freely as they 
would have done in commenting upon any proceed- 
ing in history in wliich they were totally unconcerned. 
Thus it will be. Tliey who stir up the people to im- 
proper desires, whether of peace or war, will be con- 
demned by themselves. They who weakly yield to 
them will be condemned by history. 

In my opinion, the present ministry are as far from 
doing full justice to their cause in this war as Wal- 
pole was from doing justice to the peace which at 
that time he was willing to preserve. They throw 
the light on one side only of their case ; though it is 
impossible they should not observe that the other 
side, which is kept in the shade, has its importance 
too. They must know that France is formidable, 
not only as she is France, but as she is Jacobin 
France. They knew from the beginning that the 
Jacobin paHy was not confined to that country. 
They knew, they felt, the strong disposition of tlie 



LETTEB 



291 



same faction in both countries to communicate and 
to cooperate. For some time past, these two points 
have been kept, and even industriously kept, out of 
Bight. France is considered as merely a foreign 
power, and the seditious English only as a domestic 
faction. The merits of the war with the former have 
been argued solely on political grounds. To prevent 
the mischievous doctrines of the latter from corrupt- 
ing our minds, matter and argument have been sup- 
plied abundantly, and even * ' foit, on the excel- 
lency of our own governm at nothing has 
been done to make us feel in v , xnanner the safe- 
ty of that government is connected with the princi- 
ple and with the issue of this war. For anything 
which in the late discussion has appeared, the war 
is entirely collateral to the state of Jacobinism, — as 
truly a foreign war to us and to all our home con- 
cerns as the war with Spain in 1739, abotit Guarda- 
costas, the Madrid Convention, end the fable of Cap- 
tain Jenkins's ears. 

Whenever the adverse party has raised a cry for 
peace with the Kegicide, the answer has been little 
more than this : " That the administration wished 
for such a peace full as much as the opposition, but 
that the time was not convenient for making it." 
Whatever else has been said was much in the same 
spirit. Reasons of this kind never touched the sub- 
stantial merits of the war. They were in the nature 
of dilatory pleas, exceptions of fornr previous ques- 
tions. Accordingly, all the arguments against a com- 
pliance witli wliat was represented as the popular 
desire (urged on with all possible vehemence and 
earnestness by the Jacobins) have appeared flat and 
languid, feeble and evasive. They appeared to aim 



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LETTERS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



only at gaining time. They never entered into the 
peculiar and distinctive character of the war. They 
spoke neither to the understanding nor to the heart. 
Cold as ice themselves, they never could kindle in 
our breastp a spark of that zeal which is necessary tj 
a conflict with an adverse zeal ; much less were they 
made to ir ase into our minds that stubborn, perse- 
vering spirit which alone is capable of bearing up 
against those vicissitudes of fortune which will prob- 
ably occ ir, and those burdens which must be mevita- 
bly boruj, in a long war. I speak it emphatically, 
and with a desire that it should bi marked, — in a 
long war; because, without such a war, no expe- 
rience has yet told us that a dangerou3 power has 
ever be-"i reduced to measure or to reason. I do not 
throw back my view to the Poloponnesian War of 
twenty seven years; nor to two of the Punic Wars, 
the first of twenty-four, the second of eighteen ; nor 
to the more recent war concluded by the Treaty of 
Westphalia, which continued, I think, for thirty, I 
go to what is but just fallen behind iiving memory, 
and immediately touches our own country. Let the 
portion of our history from the year 1689 to 1713 be 
brought before us. We shall find that in all that pe- 
riod of twenty-four years there were hardly five that 
could be called a season of peace ; and the interval 
between the two wars was in reality nothing more 
than a very active preparation for renovated hostili- 
ty. During that period, every one of the proposi- 
tions of peace came from the enemy : the first, when 
they were accepted, at the Peace of Ryswick ; the sec- 
ond, where they were rejected, at the Congress at Ger- 
truydenberg; the last, when the war ended by the 
Treaty of Utrecht. Even then, a very great part of 



LETTEB I. 



293 



the nation, and that which contained by far the most 
intelligent statesmen, was against the conclusion of 
the war. I do not enter into the merit:, of that ques- 
tion as between the parties. I only state the exist- 
ence of that opinion as a fact, from whence you may 
draw such an inference as you think properly arises 
from it. 

It is for us at present to recollect what we have 
been, and to consider what, if we please, we may 
be still. At the period of those wars our principal 
strength was found in the resolution of the people, 
and that in the resolution of a part only of the then 
whole, which bore no proportion to our existing mag- 
nitude. England and Scotland were not united at 
the beginning of that mighty struggle. When, in 
the course of the contest, they were conjoined, it 
was in a raw, an ill -cemented, an unproductive, 
union. For the whole duration of the war, and long 
after, the names and other outward and visible signs 
of approximation rather augmented than diminished 
our insular feuds. They were rather the causes 
of new discontents and new troubles than promoters 
of cordiality and affection. The now single and po- 
tent Great Britain .vas then not only two countries, 
bu'c. from the party heats in both, and the divisions 
formed in each of them, each of the old kingdoms 
within itself, in effect, was made up of two hostile 
nations. Ireland, now so lar^re a source of the com- 
mon opulence and power, and whicli, wisely managed, 
might be made much more beiieficial and much more 
effective, was then the heaviest of the burdens. An 
army, not much less than forty thousand men, was 
drawn from the general effort, to keep that kingdom 
in a poor, unfruitful, and resourceless subjection. 



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LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



Such was the state of the empire. The state of 
our finances was worse, if possible. Every branch 
of the revenue became less productive after the Rev- 
olution. Silver, not as now a sort of counter, but 
the body of the current coin, was reduced so low as 
not to have above three parts in four of the value in 
the shilling. In the greater part the value hardly 
amounted to a fourth. It required a dead expense 
of three millions sterling to renew the coinage. Pub- 
lic credit, that great, but ambiguous principle, which 
has so often been predicted as the cause of our cer- 
tain ruin, but which for a century has been the 
constant companion, and often the means, of our 
prosperity and greatness, had its origin, and was 
cradled, I may say, in bankruptcy and beggary. At 
this day we have seen parties contending to be ad- 
mitted, at a moderate premium, to advance eighteen 
millions to the exchequer. For infinitely smaller 
loans, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of that day, 
Montagu, the father of public credit, counter-secur- 
ing the state by the appearance of the city with the 
Lord Mayor of Londoa at his side, was obliged, like 
a solicitor for an hospital, to go cap in hand from 
shop to shop, to borrow an hundred pound, and even 
smal'er sums. When made up in driblets as they 
could, their best securities were at an interest of 
twelve per cent. Even the paper of the Bank (now 
at par with cash, and generally preferred to it) was 
often at a discount of twenty per cent. By this the 
Btate of the rest may be judged. 

As to our commerce, the imports and exports of 
the nation, now six-and-forty million, did not thea 
amount to ten. The inland trade, which is com- 
monly passed by in this sort of estimates, but which. 



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LETTEB I. 



295 



in part growing out of the foreign, and connected 
with it, is more advantageous and more substantially 
nutritive to the state, is not only grown in a propor- 
tion of near five to one as the foreign, but has been 
augmented at least in a tenfold proportion. When 
I came to England, I remember but one river navi- 
gation, the rate of carriage on which was limited by 
an act of Parliament. It was made in the reign of 
William the Third. I mean that of the Aire and 
Calder. The rate was settled at thirteen pence. So 
high a price demonstrated the feebleness of these be- 
ginnings of our inland intercourse. In my time, one 
of the longest and sharpest contests I remember in 
your House, and which rather resembled a violent 
contention amongst national parties than a local dis- 
pute, was, as well as I can recollect, to hold the price 
up to threepence. Even this, which a very scanty 
justice to the proprietors required, was done with 
infinite difficulty. As to private credit, there were 
not, as I believe, twelve bankers' shops at that time 
out of London. In this their number, when I first 
saw the country, I cannot be quite exact ; but cer- 
tainly those machines of domestic credit were then 
very few. They are now in almost every market- 
town : and this circumstance (whether the thing be 
carried to an excess or not) demonstrates the aston- 
ishing increase of private confidence, of general cir- 
culation, and o' Internal commerce, — an increase 
out of all proportion to the growth of the foreign 
trade. Our naval strength in the time of King Wil- 
liam's war was nearly matched by that of France ; 
and though conjoined with Holland, then a maritime 
power hardly inferior to our own, even with that 
force we were not always victorious. Though finally 



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LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 




Buperior, the allied fleets experienced many unpleas- 
ant reverses on their own element. In two years 
three thousand vessels were taken from the English 
trade. On the Continent we lost almost every battle 
we fought. 

In 1697, (it is not quite an hundred years ago,) in 
that state of things, amidst the general debasement 
of the coin, the fall of the ordhiary revenue, tlie 
failure of all the extraordinary supplies, the ruin 
of commerce, and the ahnost total extinction of an 
infant credit, the Chancellor of the Exchequer him- 
telf, whom we have just seen begging from door to 
door, came forward to move a resolution full of vig- 
or, in which, far from being discouraged by the gen- 
erally adverse fortune and the long continuance of 
tlie war, the Commons agreed to address the crown 
in the following manly, spirited, and truly animating 
style : — 

" This is the EIGHTH year in which your Majes- 
ty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons 
in Parliament assembled, have assisted your Majesty 
with large supplies for carrying on a just and neces- 
sary war, in defence of our religion, preservation of 
our laws, and vindication of the rights and liberties 
of the people of England." 

Afterwards they proceed in this manner: — 

"And to show to your Majesty and all Christen- 
dom that the Commons of England will not be 
amused or diverted from their firm resolutions of 
obtaining by war a safe and onorable peace, we 
do, in the name of all those we represent, renew 
our assurances to your Majesty that this House will 
support your Majesty and your government against 
all your enemies, both at home and abroad, and that 



liETTER I. 



297 



tliey will effectually assist you in the prosecution and 
carrying on the present war against France." 

The amusement and diversion they speak of was 
the suggestion of a treaty proposed by the enemy, and 
announced from the throne. Thus tlie people of 
England felt in tlie eighth, not in the fourth year of 
the war. No sighing or panting after negotiation; 
no motions from the opposition to force the ministry 
into a peace; no messages from ministers to palsy 
and deaden the resolution of Parliament or the spirit 
of the nation. They did not so much as advise the 
king vO listen to the propositions of the enemy, nor 
to seek for peace, but through the mediation of a 
vigorous war. This address was i ived in an hot, a 
divided, a factious, and, in a great part, disaffected 
House of Commons ; and it was carried, nemine con- 
tradicenfe. 

While that first war (which was ill smothered by 
the Treaty of Ryswick) slept in the thin ashes of a 
seeming peace, a new conflagration was in its imme- 
diate causes. A fresh ana a far greater war was 
in preparation. A year had hardly elapsed, when 
arrangements were made for renewing the contest 
with tenfold fury. The steps which were taken, at 
that time, to compose, to reconcile, to unite, and to 
discipline all Europe against the growth of France, 
certainly furnish to a statesman the finest and most 
interestmg part in the history of that great period. 
It formed the masterpiece of King William's policy, 
dexterity, and perseverance. Full of the idea of 
preserving not only a local civil liberty united with 
order to our country, but to embody it in the politi- 
cal liberty, the order, and the independence of na- 
tions united under a natural head, the king called 



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LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



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upou his Parliament tu put itself into a posture " to 
preterve to England the weight and influence it at pret- 
ent had on the councils and affairs abboad. It will be 
requisite Europe should see you will not be wanting 
to yourselves." 

Baffled as that monarch ".s, and almost heart- 
broken at the disappointment he met witli in the 
mode ho first proposed for tliat great end, he hold on 
his course. Ho was faithful to his object; and in 
councils, as in arms, over and over again repulsed, 
over nnd over again he returned to the charge. All 
the mortifications he had suffered from the last Parlia- 
ment, "I'd the greater he had to apprehend from that 
rewly chosen, were not capable of relaxing the vigor 
of his mind. He was in Holland when he combined 
the vast plan of his foreign negotiations. When he 
came to open his design to his ministers in England, 
even the sober firmness of Somers, the undaunted reso- 
lution of Shrewsbury, and the adventurous spirit of 
Montagu and Orford were staggered. They were not 
yet mounted to the elevation of the king. The cabi- 
net, then the regency, met on the subject at Tun- 
bridge Wells, the 28th of August, 1698 ; and there, 
Lord Somers holding the pen, after expressing doubts 
on the state of the Continent, which they ultimately 
refer to the king, as best informed, they give him a 
most discouraging portrait of the spirit of this nation. 
" So far as relates to England," say these ministers, 
" it would be want of duty not to give your Majesty 
this clear account : that there is a deadness and want 
of spirit in the nation universally, so as not at all to 
be disposed to the thought of entering into a new war ; 
and that they seem to be tired out with taxes to a de- 
gree beyond what was discerned, till it appeared upon 



LETTEB I. 



2f. 



the occasion of the late elections. This is the truth 
of the fact, upon which your Majesty will determine 
what resolutions are proper to be taken." 

His Majesty did determine, — and did take and 
pursue his resolution. In all the tottering imbecil- 
ity of a new government, and with Parliament totally 
unmanageable, he persevered. He persevered to ex- 
pel the fears of his people by his fortitude, to steady 
their fickleness by his constancy, to expand their 
narrow prudence by his enlarged wisdom, to sink 
their factious temper in his public spirit. In spite 
of his people, he resolved to make them great and 
glorious, — to make England, inclined to shrink into 
her narrow self, the arbitress of Europe, the tutelary 
angel of the human race. In spite of the ministers, 
who staggered under the weight that his mind im- 
posed upon theirs, unsupported as they felt them- 
selves by the popular spirit, he infused into them 
his own soul, he renewed in them their ancient heart, 
he rallied them in the same cause. 

It required some time to accon-f/iish this work. 
Tlie people were first gained, and, through them, 
their distracted representatives. Under the influ- 
ence of King 'William, Holland had rejecteu the al- 
lurements of every seduction, and had resisted the 
terrors of every menace. With Hannibal at her 
gates, she had nobly and magnanimously refused all 
separate treaty, or anything which might for a mo- 
ment appear to divide her affection or her interest 
or even to distinguish her in identity from England. 
Having settled tha great point of the consolidation 
(which he hoped would be eternal) of the countries 
made for a common interest and common sentiment, 
the king, in his message to both Houses, calls t! ■ ir 






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LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



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attention to the affairs of the Statet General. The 
House of Lords was perfectly sound, and entirely 
impressed with the wisdom and dignity of the king's 
proceedings. lu answer to the message, which you 
will observe was narrowed to a single point, (the dan- 
ger of the States General,) after the usual professions 
of zeal for his service, the Lords opened themselves 
at large. They go far beyond the demands of the 
message. They express themselves as follows. 

" We take this occasion further to assure your Maj- 
esty we are very sensible of the great and imminent 
danger to which the States General are at present ex- 
posed; and we do perfectly agree with them in believing 
that their safety and ours are so inseparably united that 
whatsoever is ruin to the one must be fatal to the other. 

" And we humbly desire your Majesty will be 
pleased not only to make good all the articles of any 
former treaty to the States General, but that you will 
enter into a strict league offensive and defensive with 
them for our common preservation ; and that you will 
invite into it all princes and states who are concerned 
in the present visible danger arising from the union of 
France and Spain. 

" And we further desire your Majesty, that you 
will be pleased to enter into such alliances with the 
Emperor as your Majesty shall think fit, pursuant 
to the ends of the treaty of 1689 : towards all which 
we assure your Majesty of our hearty and sincere as- 
sistance ; not doubting, but, whenever your Majesty 
shall be obliged to engage for the defence of your 
allies, and for securing the liberty and quiet of Eur 
rope, Almighty God will protect your sacred person 
in so righteous a cause, and that the unanimity, 
wealth, and courage of your sul»jects will carry your 



LETTER I. 



801 



Majesty with honor and success through a diffir 

eultiet of a JtrsT war." 

Tlie House of Commons was more reserved. The 
late popular disposition was still in a great degree 
prevalent in the representative, after it had been 
made to change in the constituent body. The prin- 
ciple of the Grand Alliance was not directly recog- 
nized in the resolution of the Commons, nor the war 
announced, though they were well aware the alliance 
was formed for the war. However, compelled by the 
returning sense of the people, they wv.nt so far as 
to fix the three great immovable pillars of the safety 
and greatness of England, as they were then, as they 
are now, and as they must ever be to tho end of time. 
They asserted in general terms the nccpssity of sup- 
porting Holland, of keeping united with our allies, 
and maintaining the liberty of Europe ; though they 
restricted their vote to the succors sti[»ulated by ac- 
tual treaty. But now they were fairly embarked, they 
were obliged to go with the course of the vessel ; and 
the whole nation, split before into an hundred adverse 
factions, with a king at its head evidently declining 
to his tomb, the whole nation, lords, commons, and 
people, proceeded as one body informed by one soul. 
Under the British union, the union of Europe was 
consolidated ; and it long held together with a degree 
of cohesion, firmness, and fidelity not known betore 
or since in any political combination of that extent. 

Just as the last hand was given to this immense 
and complicated machine, the master workman died. 
But the work was formed on true mechanical princi- 
ples, and it was as truly wrought. It went by the 
impulse it had received from the first mover. The 
man was dead ; but the Grand Alliance survived, in 



802 



LETTEBS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



w 



which King William lived and reigned. That heart- 
less and dispirited people, whom Lord Somere had 
represented about two years before as dead in energy 
and operation, continued that war, to which it was 
supposed they were unequal in mind and in means, 
for near thirteen years. 

For what have I entered into all this detail ? To 
what purpose have I recalled your view to the end 
of the last century ? It has been done to show that 
the British nation was then a great people, — to 
point out how and by what means they came to be 
exalted above the vulgar level, and to take that 
lead which they assumed among mankind. To qual- 
ify us for that preeminence, we had then an high 
mind and a constancy unconquerable ; we were then 
inspired with no flashy passions, but such as were 
durable as well as warm, such as corresponded to 
the great interests we had at stake. This force of 
character was inspired, as all such spirit must ever 
be, from above. Government gave the impulse. As 
well may we fancy that of itself the sea will swell, 
and that without winds the billows will insult the 
adverse shore, as that the gross mass of the people 
will be moved, and elevated, and continue by a 
steady and permanent direction to bear upon one 
point, without the influence of superior authority or 
superior mind. 

This impulse ought, in my opinion, to have been 
given in this war ; and it ought to have been contin- 
ued to it at every instant. It is made, if ever war 
was made, to touch all the great springs of action in 
the human breast. It ought not to have been a war 
of apology. The minister had, in this conflict, where- 
withal to glory in success, to be consoled in adversity, 



l)t| 



LETTEB I. 



808 



to bold high his principle in all fortunes. If it were 
not given him to support the falling edifice, he ought 
to bury himself under the ruins of the civilized 
world. All the art of Greece and all the pride 
and power of Eastern monarchs never heaped upon 
their ashes so grand a monument. 

There were days when his great mind was up to 
the crisis of the world he is called to act in.* His 
manly eloquence was equal to the elevated wisdom 
of such sentiments. But the little have triumphed 
over the great : an unnatural, (as it should seem,) 
not an unusual victory. I am sure you cannot for- 
get with how much uneasiness we heard, in conver- 
sation, the language of more than one gentleman at 
the opening of this contest, — " that he was willing to 
try the war for a year or two, and, if it did not suc- 
ceed, then to vote for peace." As if war was a mat- 
ter of experiment ! As if you could take it up or lay 
it down as an idle frolic ! As if the dire goddess that 
presides over it, with her murderous spear in her 
hand and her Gorgon at her breast, was a coquette 
to be flirted with! We ought with reverence to 
approach that tremendous divinity, that loves cour- 
age, but commands counsel. War never leaves where 
it found a nation. It is never to be entered into 
without a mature deliberation, — not a deliberation 
lengthened out into a perplexing indecision, but a 
deliberation leading to a sure and fixed judgment. 
When so taken up, it is not to be abandoned without 
reason as valid, as fully and as extensively consid- 
ered. Peace may be made as unadvisedly as war. 
Nothing is so rash as fear ; and the counsels of pusil- 
lanimity very rarely put off, whilst they are always 
• Bee the reclaration. 



1 



804 



LETTEBS ON A REGiaOE PEACE. 



liH 



1: 



"I 



sure to aggravate, the evils from which they would 
fly. 

In that great war carried on against Louis the Four- 
teenth for near eighteen years, government spared 
no pains to satisfy the nation, that, though they were 
to be animated by a desire of glory, glory was not 
their ultimate object; but that everything dear to 
them, in religion, in law, in liber ^j , everything which 
as freemen, as Englishmen, and as citizens of the 
great commonwealth of Christendom, they had at 
heart, was then at stake. This was to know the 
true art of gaining the affections and confidence of 
an high-minded people ; this was to understand hii- 
man nature. A danger to avert a danger, a present 
inconvenience and suffering to prevent a foreseen 
future and a worse calamity, — these are the motives 
that belong to an animal who in his constitution is 
at once adventurous and provident, circumspect and 
daring, — whom his Creator has made, as the poet 
says, " of large discourse, looking before and after." 
But never can a vehement and sustained spirit of 
fortitude be kindled in a people by a war of calcula- 
tion. It has nothing that can keep the mind erect 
under the gusts of adversity. Even where men are 
willing, as sometimes they are, to barter their blood 
for lucre, to hazard their safety for the gratification 
of their avarice, the passion which animates them to 
that sort of conflict, like all the shortsighted passions, 
must see its objects distinct and near at hand. The 
passions of the lower order are hungry and im- 
patient. Speculative plunder, — contingent spoil, — 
future, long adjourned, uncertain booty, — pillage 
which must enrich a late posterity, and which pos- 
sibly may not reach to posterity at all, — these, for 



i^ -^ll*' 



LETTEB I. 



305 



any length of time, will never support a mercenary 
war. The people are in the right. The calculation 
of profit in all such wars is false. On balancing the 
account of such wars, ten thousand hogsheads of 
sugar are purchased at ten thousand times their 
price. The blood of man should never be shed but 
to redeem the blood of man. It is well shed for our 
family, for our friends, for our God, for our country, 
for our kind. The rest is vanity ; the rest is crime. 

In the war of the Grand Alliance most of these 
considerations voluntarily and naturally had thelj 
part. Some were pressed into the service. The po- 
litical interest easily went in the track of the natu- 
ral sentiment. In the reverse course the carri-^qre 
does not follow freely. I am sure the natural feeling, 
as I have jii'-'' said, is a far more predominant ingre- 
dient in f' . "T than in that of any other that ever 
was waj^ ' • 'lis kingdom. 

If tht rt : made to prevent the union of two 
crowns r.^ iu one head was a just war, this, which is 
made to prevent the tearing all crowns from all heads 
which ought to wear them, and with the crowns to 
smite off the sacred heads themselves, this is a just 
war. 

If a war to prevent Louis the Fourteenth from im- 
posing his religion was just, a war to prevent the 
murderers of Louis the Sixteenth from imposing their 
irreligion upon us is just : a war to prevent the op- 
eration of a system which makes life without dignity 
aiid death without hope is a just war. 

If to preserve political independence and civil free- 
dom to nations was a just ground of war, a war to 
preserve national independence, property, liberty, life, 
and honor from certain universal havoc is a war just, 



I-.J 



VOL. V. 



20 



i 



306 



LETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



(K* 



^1 ^ 



i I: 



necessary, manly, pious ; and we are bound to perse- 
vere in it by every principle, divine and human, as 
long as the system which menaces them all, and all 
equally, has an existence in the world. 

You, who have looked at this matter with as fair 
and impai ml an eye as can be united with a feeling 
heart, you •(•ill not think it an hardy assertion, when 
I aflirm that it were far better to be conquered by 
any other nation than to have this faction for a neigh- 
bor, i^efore I felt myself authorized to say this, I 
considert'd the state of all the countries in Europe 
for these last three hundred years, wh^ch have been 
obliged to submit to a foreign law. In most of those 
I found the condition of the annexed countries even 
better, certainly not worse, than the lot of those which 
were the patrimony of the conqueror. They wanted 
some blessings, but they were free from many very 
great evils. They were rich and tranquil. S^ch was 
Artois, Flanders, Lorraine, Alsatia, under the old 
government of France. Such was Silesia under the 
King of Prussia. Tliey who are to live in the vicini- 
ty of this new fabric are to prepare to live in perpetual 
conspiracies and seditions, and to end at last in being 
conquered, if not to her dominion, to her resemblance. 
But when we talk of conquest by other nations, it is 
only to put a case. This is the only power in Europe 
by which it is possible we should be conquered. To 
live under the continual dread of such immeasurable 
evils is itself a grievous calamity. To live without 
the dread of them is to turn the danger into the dis- 
aster. The influence of such a France is equal to a 
war, its example more wasting than an hostile irrup- 
tion. The hostility with any other power is separable 
and accidental : this power, by the very condition of 



LETTEB I. 



807 



its existence, by its very essential constitution, is in a 
state of hostility with us, and with all civilized peo- 
ple* 

A govemment of the nature of that set up at our 
very door has never been hitherto seen or even im- 
agined in Europe. What our relation to it will be 
cannot be judged by other relations. It is a serious 
thing to have a connection with a people who live only 
under positive, arbitrary, and changeable institutions, 
— and those not perfected nor supplied nor explained 
by any common, acknowledged rule of moral science. 
I remember, that, in one of my last conversations 
with the late Lord Camden, we were struck much in 
the same manner with the abolition in France of the 
law as a science of methodized and artificial equity. 
France, since her Revolution, is under the sway of a 
sect whose leaders have deliberately, at one stroke, 
demolished the whole body of that jurisprudence 
which France had pretty nearly in common with oth- 
er civilized countries. In that jurisprudence were 
contained the elements and principles of the law of 
nations, the great ligament of mankind. With the 
law they have of course destroyed all seminaries in 
which jurisprudence was taught, as well as all the 
corporations established for its conservation. I have 
not heard of any country, whether in Europe or Asia, 
or even in Africa on this side of Mount Atlas, which 
is wholly without some such colleges and such corpo- 
rations, eycept France. No man, in a public or pri- 
vate concern, can divine by what rule or principle 
her judgments are to be directed : nor is there to he 
found a professor in any university, or a practitioner 
in any court, who will hazard an opinion of what is 

* See Declaration, Whitehall, October 29, I79S. 



mM 



308 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



t! 1| 



or is not law in Prance, in any case whatever. They 
have not only annulled all their old treaties, but they 
have renounced the law of nations, from whence 
treaties have their force. With a fixed design they 
have outlawed themselves, and to their power out- 
lawed all other nations. 

Instead of the religion and the law by which they 
were in a great politic communion with the Christian 
world, they have constructed their republic on three 
bas3s, all fundamentally opposite to those on which 
the communities of Europe are built. Its foundation 
is laid in Regicide, in Jacobinism, and in Atheism; 
and it has joined to those principles a body of syste- 
matic manners which secures their operation. 

If I am asked how I would be understood in the 
use of these terms, Regicide, Jacobinism, Atheism, 
and a system of correspondent manners, and their 
establishment, I will tell you. 

I call a commonwealth Regicide which lays it 
down as a fixed law of Nature and a fundamental 
right of man, that all government, not being a de- 
mocracy, is an usurpation,* — that all kings, as such, 
are usurpers, and, for being kings, may and ought to 
be put to death, with their wives, families, and ad- 
herents. The commonwealth which acts uniformly 
upon those principles, and which, after abolishing 

• Nothing could be more solemn than their promnlgation of this 
principle, as a preamble to the destructive code of their famous arti- 
cles for the decomposition of society, into whatever country they 
should enter. "La Convention Nationale, apris avoir entendu le 
rapport de ses comit^s de finances, de la gueire, et diplomatiques 
r€nnis, fidfele au principe de touverainelf de peuples, qui ne hi permet pai 
de reconnoftme auame iratitution qui y parte atteinte," &c., 4c. — IMrel 
fur le Rapport de CaaJbon, Dee. 18, 1792. And see the subsequent 
proclamation. 



.a^ 



LETTEB I. 



309 



every festival of religion, chooses the most flagrant 
act of a murderous regicide treason for a feast of 
eternal commemoration, and which forces all her 
people to observe it, — this I call Jtegicide hy Estab- 
lishment. 

Jacobinism is the revolt of the enterprising talents 
of a country against its property. When private men 
form themselves into associations for tie purpose of 
destroying the preexisting laws and institutions of 
their country, — when they secure to themselves an 
army by dividing amongst the people of no property 
the estates of the ancient and lawful proprietors, — 
when a state recognizes those acts, — when it does 
not make confiscations for crimes, but makes crimes 
for confiscations, — when it has its principal strength 
and all its resources in such a violation of property, 
— when it stands chiefly upon such a violation, mas- 
sacring by judgments, or otherwise, those who make 
any struggle for their old legal government, and their 
legal, hereditary, or acquired possessions, — I call 
this Jacobinism by Establishment. 

I call it Atheism by Establishment, when any stuto, 
as such, shall not acknowledge the existence of God 
as a moral governor of the world, — when it shall 
offer to Him no religious or moral worship, — when 
it shall abolish the Cliristian religion by a regular 
decree, — when it shall persecute, with a cold, un- 
relenting, steady cruelty, by every mode of confis- 
cation, imprisonment, exile, and death, all its minis- 
ters, — when it shall generally shut up or pull down 
churches, — when the few buildings which remain 
of this kind shall be opened only for the purpose of 
making a profane apotheosis of monsters whose vices 
and crimes have no parallel amongst men, and whom 



i 



t 



' i 



ii M 



i i 



310 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICID'^ PEACE. 



all other men consider as objects of general detesta- 
tion and tlie severest animadversion of law. When, 
in the place of that religion of social benevolence and 
of individual self-denial, in mockery of all religion, 
they institute impious, blasphemous, indecent theat- 
ric rites, in honor of their vitiated, perverted reason, 
and erect altars to the personiScation of their own 
corrupted and bloody republic, — when schools and 
seminaries are founded at public expense to poison 
mankind, from generation to generation, with ^^« 
horrible maxims of this impiety, — when, wearied out 
with incessant martyrdom, and the cries of a people 
hungering and thirsting for religion, they permit it 
only as a tolerated evil, — I call this Atheism by Ea- 
tahlishmtnt. 

When to these establishments of Regicide, of Jac- 
obinism, and of Atheism, you add the correspondent 
system of manners, no doubt can be left on the mind 
of a thinking man concerning their determmed hos- 
tility to the human race. Manners are of more im- 
portance than laws. Upon them, in a great measure, 
the laws depend. The law touches us but here and 
there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or 
soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize 
or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insen- 
sible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. 
Tiiey give their whole form and color to our lives. 
.According to their quality, tliey aid morals, they 
supj)ly them, or they totally destroy them. Of this 
the new French legislators were aware ; therefore, 
with the same method, and under the same author 
ity, they settled a system of manners, tlie most licen- 
tious, prostitute, and abandoned that ever has been 
known, and at the same time the most coarse, rude, 



^ 



LETTEB I. 



311 



savage, and ferocious. Nothing in the Revolution, 
no, not to a phrase or a gesture, not to the fashion 
of a hat or a shoe, was left to accident. All has been 
the result of design ; all nas been matter of institu- 
tion. No mechanical means could be devised in fa- 
vor of this incredible system of wickedness and vice, 
that has not been employed. The noblest passions, 
the love of glory, the love of country, have been 
debauched into means of its preservation and its 
propagation. All sorts of shows and exhibitions, 
calculated to inflame and vitiate the imagmation and 
pervert the moral sense, have been contrived. They 
have sometimes brought forth five or six hundred 
drunken women calling at the bar of the Assembly for 
the blood of their own children, as being Royalists or 
Constitutionalists. Sometimes they have got a body 
of wretches, calling themselves fathers, to demand 
the murder of their sons, boasting that Rome had 
but one Brutus, but that they could show five hun- 
dred. There were instances in which they inverted 
and retaliated the impiety, and produced sons who 
called for the execution of their parents. Tlie foun- 
dation of their republic is laid in moral paradoxes. 
Their patriotism is always prodigy. All those in- 
stances to be found in history, whether real or fabu- 
lous, of a doubtful public spirit, at which morality 
is perplexed, reason is staggered, and from which 
afirighted Nature recoils, are their chosen and almost 
sole examples for the instruction of their youth. 

The whole drift of their institution is contrary to 
that of the wise legislators of all countries, who aimed 
at improving instincts into morals, and at grafting the 
virtues on the stock of the natural afiections. They, 
on the contrary, have omitted no pains to eradicate 



Vi. 



^1 



itea- 



as: 



812 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



n 



every benevolent and noble propensity in the mind 
of men. In their culture it is a rule always to graft 
virtues on vices. They think everything unworthy 
of the name of public virtue, unless it indicates vio- 
lence on the private. All their new institutions (and 
with tliem everytliing is new) strike at the root of 
our social nature. Other legislators, knowing that 
marriage is the origin of all relations, and conse- 
quently the first element of all duties, have endeav- 
ored by every art to make it sacred. The Christian 
religion, by confining it to the pairs, and by render- 
ing that relation indissoluble, has by these two things 
done more towards the peace, happiness, settlement, 
and civilization of tlie world than by any other part 
in this whole scheme of Divine wisdom. The direct 
contrary course has been taken in the synagogue of 
Antichrist, — I mean in that forge and manufactory 
of all evil, the sect which predominated in the Con- 
stituent Assembly of 1789. Those monsters employed 
the same or greater industry to desecrate and de- 
grade that state, which other legislators have used 
to render it holy and hone ble. By a strange, un- 
called-for declaration, they pronounced that marriage 
was no better than a common civil contract. It was 
one of their ordinary tricks, to put their sentiments 
into the mouths of certain personated characters, 
whicli they theatrically exhibited at the bar of wliat 
ought to be a serious assembly. One of these was 
brought out in the figure of a prostitute, whom they 
called by the affected name of " a mother without 
beuig a wife." Tliis creature they made to call for 
a repeal of the incapacities which in civilised states 
are put upon bastards. The prostitutes of the As- 
sembly gave to this their puppet the sanction of their 



LKTTEB I. 



818 



greater impudence. In consequence of the princi- 
ples laid down, and the manners authorized, bastards 
were not long after put on the footing of the issue of 
lawful unions. Proceeding in the spirit of the first 
authors of their Constitutio i, succeeding Assemblies 
went the full length of the principle, and gave a li- 
cense to divorce at the mere pleasure of either party, 
and at a month's notice. With them the matrimo- 
nial connection is brought into so degraded a state of 
conciibi uage. that 1 believe none of the wretches in 
London who keep warehouses of infamy would give 
out one of their victims to private custody on so short 
and insolent a tenure. There was, indeed, a kind of 
profligate equity in giving to women the same licen- 
tious power. The reason they assigned was as infa- 
mous as the act : declaring that women had been too 
long under the tyranny of parents and of husbands. 
It is not necessary to observe upon the horrible con- 
sequences of taking one half of the species wholly out 
of the guardianship and protection of the other. 

The practice of divorce, though in some countries 
permitted, has been discouraged in all. In the East, 
polygamy and divorce are in discredit ; and the man- 
ners correct the laws. In Xlom?), whilst Rome was 
in its integrity, the few causes allowed for divorce 
amounted in eflFect to a prohibition. They were only 
three. The arbitrary was totally excluded ; and ac- 
cordingly some hundreds of years passed without a 
single example of that kind. When manners were 
corrupted, the laws were relaxed; as the latter al- 
ways follow the former, when they are not able to 
regulate them or to vanquish them. Of this circum- 
stance the legislators of vice and crime were pleased 
to take notice, as an inducement to adopt their regu- 



NJ 



ssr 



814 



LETTEBS ON A Ei^;U'Cir>F FKa^E. 



I 



latioQ : holding out an hope th .i, the pijr:" ssiou would 
as rarely bo made use of. They kno* tho contrary 
to be true ; and they had tukon good car*.; that the 
laws should be well seconded by the manners. Their 
law of divorce, like all their laws, had not for its ob- 
ject the relief of domestic uneasiness, but the total 
corruption of all morals, the total disconnection of 
social life. 

It is a matter of curiosity to observe the operation 
of this encouragement to disorder. I have before me 
the Paris paper correspondent to the usual register 
of births, marriages, and deatlis. Divorce, happily, is 
no regular head of registry amongst civilized nations. 
With the Jacobins it is remarkable that divorce is 
not only a regular head, but it has the post of honor. 
It occupies the first place in tlie list. In the three 
first months of the year 1793 the number of divorces 
in that city amounted to 662; the marriages were 
1785 : so that the proportion of divorces to marriages 
was not much less than one to throe : a thing unex- 
ampled, I believe, among mankind. I caused an in- 
quiry to be made at Doctors' Commons concerning 
the number of divorces, and found that all the divor- 
ces (which, except by special act of Parliament, are 
separations, and not proper divorces) did not amount 
in all those courts, and in an hundred years, to much 
more than one fifth of those tliat passed in the single 
city of Paris in three months. " followed up the in- 
quiry relative to that city througli several of the sub- 
sequent months, until I was tired, and found the 
proportions still the same. iSinc then I have heard 
that they have declared for a revisal of these laws : 
but I know of nothing done. It appears as if the 
contract that renovates the world was under no law 



: i 



K. 



LSITSB I. 



316 



at all. From this wo may take our estimu >j of cho 
havoc that has boeii uiado hrough all the latior 
of life. With the Jacobins uf Frajice, vaguo iuter 
course is without reproach; luarriagi is redui >id to 
the vilest coiicul uage; chili;reu are e:icoun.u'jd to 
cut the throats of thoir parwii!-!; mothers are luught 
that tenderness i^ no part ol ..leir cliaracter, and, to 
demonstrate ilieir attachmuiit to their party, that they 
ought to make no scruple to rak.' with their bloody 
hands in the bowels of those v'i > came from their 
own. 

To all this let us join the practice of cannih itm, 
with which, in the proper term;-, and with tlie great- 
est t ath, tlieir several factions accuse each oU er. 
By cannibalism I mean thoir dovourinjr as a nu i- 
ment of tlieir ferocity some pai-t of tli. bodi- of 
those li !y have murUeied, thi:ir drinking the blood 
of tlicir victims, and lorcing the victims themselves 
to drink the blood of their kindred slaughtered b»foro 
their faces. By cannibalism 1 uean si o to signify 
ail their nameless, unmanly, in 1 abominalile insults 
on the Iwdies of tliote they t! ighter. 

As to those whom they -iiffer to die a natural 
death, they do not permit them to enjoy the last 
consolation!? of mankind or tl ose rights of sepulture 
which indicate hope, an ' which mere Nature has 
taught I mankind, in U countries, t soothe the 
affli otit i'- ind to cover tlie infirn/ity of Uiortal condi- 
tion. Tbey disgrace men in t.ie enti v into life, th' - 
vitiate and enslave them through the whole course 
of ir. and they deprive them of \l comfort at the on- 
ci -ion of their dishonored and dejiraved existence. 
Endeavoring to persuade the people that they are no 
better than bea-ts, the whol body i their institution 







If 



4-1 



— ^"■■-^"«»' 




316 



LETTEBS ON ▲ BEQICIDE PEACE. 



m 



' r /. 



W" 'a 



I :l 



tends to make them beasts of prey, furious and sav- 
age. For this purpose the active part of them is dis- 
ciplined into a ferocity which has no parallel. To 
this ferocity there is joined not one of the rude, un- 
fashioned virtues which accompany the vices, where 
the whole are left to grow up together in the rank- 
uess of uncultivated Nature. But nothing is left to 
Nature in their systems. 

The same discipline which hardens their hearts 
relaxes their morals. Whilst courts of justice were 
thrust out by revolutionary tribunals, and silont 
churches were only the funeral moniuneuts of de- 
parted religion, there were no fewer than nineteen 
or twenty theatres, great and small, most of them 
kept open at the public expense, and all of them 
crowded every night. Among the gaunt, haggard 
forms of famine and nakedness, amidst the yells of 
murder, the tears of affliction, and the cries of de- 
spair, the song, the dance, the mimic scene, the buf- 
foon laughter, went on as regularly as in the gay 
hour of festive peace. I have it from good author- 
ity, that under the scaffold of judicial murder, and 
the gaping planks that poured down blood on the 
spectators, the space was hired out for a show of 
dancing dogs. I think, without concert, we have 
made the very same remark, on reading some of their 
pieces, which, being written for other purposes, let us 
into a view of their social life. It struck us that the 
habits of Paris had no resemblance to the fiuiished 
virtues, or to the polished vice, and elegant, tliough 
not blameless luxury, of the capital of a great em- 
pire. Their society was more like that of a den of 
outlaws upon a doubtful frontier, — of a lewd tavern 
for the revels and debauches of banditti, assassins, 



LEflTEB I. 



817 



bravoes, smugglers, and their more desperate para- 
mours, mixed with bombastic players, the refuse and 
rejected ofFal of strolling theatres, puffing out ill-sorted 
verses about virtue, mixed with the licentious and 
blasphemous songs proper to the brutal and hardened 
course of life belonging to that sort of wretches. This 
system of manners in itself is it war with all orderly 
and moral society, and is in its ueighborhood unsafe. 
If great bodies of that kind were anywhere established 
in a bordering territory, we should have a right to 
demand of their governments the suppression of such 
a nuisance. What are we to do, if the government 
and the whole community is of the same description ? 
Yet that government has thought proper to invite 
ours to lay by its unjust hatred, and to listen to the 
voice of humanity as taught by their example. 

The operation of dangerous and delusive first prin 
ciples obliges us to have recourse to the true ones. 
In the intercourse between nations, we are apt to re- 
ly too much on the instrumental part. We lay too 
much weight upon the formality of treaties and com- 
pacts. We do not act much more wisely, when we 
trust to the interests of men as guaranties of their 
engagements. The interests frequently tear to pie- 
ces the engagements, and the passions trample upon 
both. Entirely to trust to either is to disregard our 
own safety, or not to know mankind. Men are not 
tied to one another by papers and seals. Tbey are 
led to associate by resemblances, by conformities, by 
sympathies. It is with nations as with individuals. 
Nothing is so strong a tie of amity between nation 
and nation as correspondence in laws, customs, man- 
ners, and habits of life. They have more than the 
force of treaties in themselves. They are obligations 



miii 



itt^ 



818 



LETTEBS ON X SBQICIDE PEACE. 



il' 



41 >' 



written in the heart. They approximate men to men 
without their knowledge, aud sometimes against their 
intentions. The secret, unseen, but irrefragable bond 
of habitual intercourse holds them together, even 
when their perverse and litigious nature sets them to 
equivocate, scuffle, and fight about the terms of their 
written obligations. 

As to war, if it be the means of wrong and violence, 
it is the sole means of justice amongst nations. Noth- 
ing can banish it from the world. They who say oth- 
erwise, intending to impose upon us, do not impose 
upon themselves. But it is one of the greatest ob- 
jects of human wisdo n to mitigate those evils which 
we areimable to remov\ The conformity and anal- 
ogy of which I speak, incapable, like everything else, 
of preserving perfect trust and tranquillity among 
men, has a strong tendency to facilitate accommoda- 
tion, and to produce a generous oblivion of the ran- 
cor of their quarrels. With this similitude, peace is 
more of peace, and war is less of war. I will go fur- 
ther. There have been periods of time in which com- 
munities apparently in peace with each other have 
been more perfectly separated than in later times 
many nations in Europe have been in the course of 
long and bloody wars. The cause must be sought in 
the similitude throughout Europe of religion, la\(s, 
and manners. At bottom, these are all the same. 
The writers on public law have often called this ag- 
gregate of nations a commonwealth. They had rea- 
son. It is virtually one great state, having the same 
basis of general law, with some diversity of provincial 
customs and local establishmei.i/a. The nations of 
Europe have had the very same Christian religion, 
agreeing in the fundamental parts, varying a little 



•I 



J ■' 



LEITEB I. 



319 



in the ceremonies and in the subordinate doctrines. 
The whole of the polity and economy of every coun- 
try in Europe has been derived from the same sources. 
It was drawn from the old Germanic or Gothic Cus- 
tumary, — from the feudal institutions, wliich must 
be considered as an emanation from that Custumary ; 
and the whole has been improved and digested into 
system and discipline by the Roman law. From 
hence arose the several orders, with or without a 
monarch, (which are called States,) in every Euro- 
pean country ; the strong traces of which, where 
monarchy predominated, were never wholly extin- 
guished or merged in despotism. In the few places 
where monarchy was cast off, the spirit of European 
monarchy was still left. Those countries still con- 
tinued countries of States, — that is, of classes, or- 
ders, and distinctions, such as had before subsisted, 
or nearly so. Indeed, the force and form of the in- 
stitution called States continued in greater perfection 
in those republican communities than under monar- 
chies. From all those sourcos arose a system of 
manners and of education which was nearly similar 
in all this quarter of the globe, — and which softened, 
blended, and harmonized the colors of the whole. 
There was little difference in the form of the univer- 
sities for the education of their youth, whether with 
regard to faculties, to sciences, or to the more liberal 
and elegant kinds of erudition. From this resem- 
blance in the modes of intercourse, and in the whole 
form and fashion of life, no citizen of Europe could 
be altogether an exile in any part of it. There was 
nothing more than a pleasing variety to recreate and 
instruct the mind, to enrich the imagination, and 
to meliorate the heart. When a man travelled or 



I' 



I 



^ub 



warn 






\l'. 



320 



LETTEBS OK A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



it 



resided, for health, pleasxire, business, or necessity, 
from his own country, he never felt himself quite 
abroad. 

The whole body of this new scheme of manners, 
in support of the new poheme of politics, I consider 
as a strong and decisive proof of determined ambition 
and systematic hostility. I defy the most refining 
ingenuity to invent any other cause for the total de- 
parture of the Jacobin Republic from every one of 
the ideas and usages, religious, legal, moral, or social, 
of this civilized world, and for her tearing herself 
from its communion with such studied violence, but 
from a formed resolution of keeping no terms with 
that world. It has not been, as has been falsely and 
insidiously represented, that these miscreants had 
only broke with their old government. They made 
a schism with the whole universe, and that schism 
extended to almost everything, great and small. For 
one, I wish, since it is gone thus far, that the breach 
had been so complete as to make all intercourse im- 
practicable : but, partly by accident, partly by design, 
partly from the resistance of the matter, enough is 
left to preserve intercourse, whilst amity is destroyed 
or corrupted in its principle. 

This violent breach of the community of Europe we 
must conclude to have been made (even if they had 
not expressly declared it over and over again) either 
to force mankind into an adoption of their system 
or to live in perpetual enmity with a community the 
most potent we have ever known. Can any person 
imagine, that, in offering to mankind this desperate 
alternative, there is no indication of a hostile mind, 
because men in possession of the ruling authority are 
supposed to have a right to act without coercion in 



USrtESL I. 



821 



their own territories? As to the right of men to 
act anywhere according to their pleasure, without 
any moral tie, no such right exists. Men are never 
in a state of total independence of each other. It is 
not the condition of our nature : nor is it conceivable 
how any man can pursue a considerable course of ac- 
tion without its having some effect upon others, or, of 
course, without producing some degree of responsibili- 
ty for his conduct. The situations in which men rel- 
atively stand produce the rules and principles of that 
responsibility, and afford directions to prudence in ex- 
acting it. 

Distance of place does not extinguish the duties 
or the rights of men ; but it often renders their ex- 
ercise impracticable. The same circumstance of dis- 
tance renders the noxious effects of an evil system 
in any community less pernicious. But there are 
situations where this difficulty does not occur, and 
in which, therefore, these duties are obligatory and 
these rights are to be asserted. It has ever been the 
method of public jurists to draw a great part of the 
analogies on which they form the law of nations from 
the principles of law which prevail in civil commu- 
nity. Civil laws are not all of them merely positive. 
Those which are rather conclusions of legal reason 
than matters of statutable provision belong to uni- 
versal equity, and are universally applicable. Al- 
most the whole praetorian law is such. There is a 
law of neighborhood which does not leave a man per- 
fect master on his own ground. When a neighbor 
sees a new erection, in the nature of a nuisance, set 
up at his door, he has a right to represent it to the 
judge, who, on his part, has a right to order the work 
to be stayed, or, if established, to be removed. On 

vol,. V. 21 



I 



-rssm^M 



■SB 



siKa 



lAdf 



K'^ifL 



f 



LETTEBa ON A BEOiaDE PEACE. 

this head the parent law is express and clear, and 
has made many wise provisions, which, without de- 
stroying, regulate and restrain the right of ownership 
by the right of vicinage. No innovation is permitted 
that may redound, even secondarily, to the prejudice 
of a neighbor. The whole doctrine of that important 
head of praetorian law, " J)e novi operis nunciatione" 
is founded on the principle, that no new use should 
be made of a man's private liberty of operating upon 
his private property, from whence a detriment may 
be justly apprehended by his neighbor. This law of 
denunciation is prospective. It is to anticipate what 
is called damnum infedum or damnum notidum factum, 
that is, a damage justly apprehended, but not actu- 
ally done. Even before it is clearly known whether 
the innovation be damageable or not, the judge is 
competent to issue a prohibition to innovate until 
the point can be determined. This prompt inter- 
ference is grounded on principles favorable to both 
parties. It is preventive of mischief difficult to be 
repaired, and of ill blood difficult to be softened. 
The rule of law, therefore, which comes before the 
evil is amongst the very best parts of equity, and 
justifies the promptness of the remedy ; because, as it 
is well observed, " Bes damni infecti celeritatem desir 
derat, et periculosa est dilatio." This right of denun- 
ciation does not hold, when things continue, however 
inconveniently to the neighborhood, according to the 
ancient mode. For there is a sort of presumption 
against novelty, drawn out of a deep consideration 
of human nature and human affiiirs ; and the maxim 
of jurisprudence is well laid down, " Vetustas pro lege 
semper habetur.'^ 

Such is the law of civil vicinity. Now where there 



'I 



m ! 



LEITEB I. 



823 



is no constituted judge, as between independent states 
there is not, the vicinage itself is the natural judge. 
It is, preventively, the assertor of its own rights, or, 
remedially, their avenger. Neighbors are presumed 
to take cognizance of each other's acts. " Vicini vt- 
einorum facta prcesumuntur scire." This principle, 
which, like the rest, is as true of nations as of in- 
dividual men, has bestowed on the grand vicinage 
of Europe a duty to know and a right to prevent 
any capital innovation which may amount to the 
erection of a dangerous nuisance.* Of the impor- 
tance of that innovation, and the mischief of that 
nuisance, they are, to be sure, bound to judge not 
litigiously: but it is in their competence to judge. 
They have uniformly acted on this right. WJiat in 
civil society is a ground of action in politic "ociety 
is a ground of war. But the exercise of that com- 
petent jurisdiction is a matter of moral prudence. 
As suits in civil society, so war in the political, must 
ever be a matter of great deliberation. It is not this 
or that particular proceeding, picked out here and 
there, as a subject of quarrel, that will do. There 
must be an aggregate of mischief. There must be 
marks of deliberation ; there must be traces of de- 
sign; there must be indications of malice; there 
must be tokens of ambition. There must be force 
in the body where they exist ; there must be energy 
in the mind. When all these circumstances combine, 
or the important parts of them, the duty of the vicin- 

* " This Btate of things cannot exist in France, without involving 
all the surrounding powers in one common danger, — without giving 
them the right, without imposing it upon them as a dntjr, to stop the 
progress of an evil which .... attacks the fundamental principles 
hj which mankind is united in the bonds of ci«il society." — Dedara- 
tion, 29lh Oct., 1793. 



m 






i/li 






824 



LETTEBS ON ▲ BEOICIDll PEACB. 



I* 



hi 



itj calls for the exercise of its competence : and the 
rules of prudence do not restrain, but demand it. 

In describing the nuisance erected by so pestilen- 
tial a manufactory, by the construction of so infa- 
mous a brothel, by digging a night-cellar for such 
thieves, murderers, and house-breakers as never in- 
fested the world, I am so far from aggravating, that 
I have fallen infinitely short of the evil. No man 
who has attended to the particulars of what has been 
done in Prance, and combined them with the prin- 
ciples there asserted, can pobsibly doubt it. When 
I compare with this great cause of nations the trifling 
points of honor, the still more contemptible points of 
interest, the light ceremonies, the undefinable punc- 
tilios, the disputes about precedency, the lowering or 
the hoisting of a sail, the dealing in a hundred or 
two of wildcat-skins on the other side of the globe, 
which have often kindled up the flames of war be- 
tween nations, I stand astonished at those persons 
who do not feel a resentment, not more natural Ihun 
politic, at the atrocious insults that this monstrous 
compound offers to the dignity of every nation, and 
who are not alarmed with what it threatens to their 
safety. 

I have therefore been decidedly of opinion, with 
oiu- declaration at Whitehall in the beginning of this 
war, that the vicinage of Europe had not only a 
right, but an indispensable duty and an exigent 
interest, to denunciate this new work, before it had 
produced the danger we have so sorely felt, and 
which we shall long feel. The example of what is 
done by Prance is too important not to have a vast 
and extensive influence ; and that example, backed 
with its power, must bear with great force on those 



it 



IBTTEB I. 



825 



who are near it, especially on. those who shall recog- 
nize the pretended republic on the principle upon 
which it now stands. It is not an old structure, 
which you have found as it is, and are not to dispute 
of the original end and design with which it had been 
so fashioned. It is a recent wrong, and can plead no 
prescription. It violates the rights upon whicli not 
only the commtinity of France, but those on which 
all communities are founded. The principles on 
which they proceed are general principles, and are 
as true in England as in any other country. They 
who (though with the purest intentions) recognize 
the authority of these regicides and robbers upon 
principle justify their acts, and establish tliem as 
precedents. It is a question not between France 
and England ; it is a question between property and 
force. The property claims ; and its claim has been 
allowed. The property of the nation is the nation. 
They who massacre, plunder, and expel the body 
of the proprietary are murderers and robbers. The 
state, in its essence, must be moral and just : and it 
may be so, though a tyrant or usurper should be 
accidentally at the head of it. Tliis is a thing to be 
lamented : but this notwithstanding, the body of the 
commonwealth may remain in all its integrity and be 
perfectly sound in its composition. The present case 
is different. It is not a revolution in government. 
It is not the victory of party over party. It is a 
destruction and decomposition of the whole society ; 
which never can be made of right by any faction, 
however powerful, nor without terrible consequences 
to all about it, both in the act and in tlie example. 
This pretended republic is founded in crimes, and 
exists by wiojig and robbery; and wrong and rob- 



UL 



826 



LETTEB8 ON A BEOICIDF PEACI. 



i; <t 



W 



bery, far from a title to anything, is war with mau* 
itind. To be at peace with robbery is to bo an 
accomplice with it. 

Mere locality does not constitute a body politic. 
Had Cade and his gang got possession of London, 
they would not have been the lord mayor, aldermen, 
and common council. The body politic of Franco 
existed in the majesty of its throne, in the dignity 
of its nobility, in the honor of its gentry, in the sanc- 
tity of its clergy, in the reverence of its magistracy, 
in the weight and consideration due to its landed 
property in the several bailliages, in the respect due 
to its movable substance represented by the corpora- 
tions of the kingdom. All these particular moleculce 
united form the great mass of what is truly the body 
politic in all countries. They are so many deposits 
and receptacles of justice ; because they can only 
exist by justice. Nation is a moral essence, not a 
geographical arrangement, or a denomination of the 
nomenclator. France, though out of her territorial 
possession, exists ; because the sole possible claimant, 
I mean the proprietary, and the government to which 
the proprietary adheres, exists and claims. God for- 
bid, that if you were expelled from your house by 
ruffians and assassins, that I should call the material 

walls, doot ^, and windows of the ancient and 

honorable family of ! Am I to transfer to the 

intruders, who, not content to turn you out naked 
to the worl ', would rob you ol your very name, all 
the esti^em and respect I owe to you ? The Regicides 
in France are not France. France is out of her 
bounds, but the kingdom is the same. 

To illustrate my opinions on this subject, let lis 
suppose a case, which, after wliat has happened, we 



LETTEB I. 



827 



cannot think absolutely impossible, though the au- 
gury is to be abominated, and the event deprecated 
with our most ardent prayers. Let us suppose, then, 
that our gracious sovereign was c^ crilegiously mur- 
dered ; his exemplary queen, at th liead of the mat- 
ronage of this laud, murdered in the same manner ; 
that those princesses whose beauty and modest ele- 
gance are the ornaments of the country, and who 
are the leaders and patterns of the ingenuous youth 
of their sex, were put to a cruel and ignominious 
death, with hundreds of others, mothers and daugh- 
ters, ladies of the first distinction ; that the Prince 
of Wales and the Duke of York, princes the hope 
and pride of the nation, with all their brethren, were 
forced to fly from the knives of assassins : that the 
whole body of our excellent clergy were either mas- 
sacred or robbed of all and transported; the Chris- 
tian religion, in all its denominations, forbidden and 
persecuted; the law totally, fundamentally, and in 
all its parts, destroyed; the judges put to death 
by revolutionary tribunals; the peers and commons 
robbed to the last acre of their estates, massacred, if 
they stayed, or obliged to seek life in flight, in ex- 
ile, and in beggary ; that the whole landed property 
should share the very same fate ; that every military 
and naval officer of honor and rank, almost to a man, 
should be placed in the same description of confis- 
cation and exile ; that the principal merchants and 
bankers should be drawn out, as from an hen-coop, 
for slaughter ; that the citizens of our greatest and 
most flourishing cities, when the hand and the ma- 
chinery of the hangman were not found sufficient, 
should have been collected in the public squares 
and massacred bv thousands with cannon ; if three 



:i/: 



m 



Iff 



828 



LEITEBS ON ▲ REGICTOE PEACK. 



ktl 



hundred thousand others should have been doomed 
to a situation worse than death In noisome and pes- 
tilential prisons. In such a case, is it in the faction 
of robbers I am to look for my country ? Would this 
be the England that you and I, and even strangers, 
admired, honored, loved, and cherished ? Would not 
the exiles of England alone be my govurnment and 
my fellow-citizens ? Would not their places of ref- 
uge be my temporary country? Would not all my 
duties and all my affections be there, and theio only? 
Should I consider myself as a traitor to my country, 
and deserving of death, if I knocked at the door and 
heart of every potentate in Christendom to succor 
my friends, and to avenge them on their enemies? 
Could I in any way show myself more a patriot ? 
What should I think of those potentates who insulted 
their suffering brethren, — who treated them as va- 
grants, or at least as mendicants, — and could find 
no allies, no friends, but in regicide murderers and 
robbers ? What ought I to think and feel, if, being 
geographers instead of kings, they recognized the 
desolated cities, the wasted fields, and the rivers 
polluted with blood, of this geometrical measure- 
ment, as the honorable member of Europe called 
England ? In that condition, wliat should we think 
of Sweden, Denmark, or Holland, or whatever power 
afforded us a churlish and treaclierous hospitality, 
if they should invite us to joui the standard of our 
king, our laws, and our religion, — if they should 
give us a direct promise of protection, — if, after all 
this, taking advantage of our deplorable situation, 
which left us no choice, they were to treat us as 
the lowest and vilest of all mercenaries, — if they 
were to send us far from the aid of our king and 



n--i._^l 



UETTEB I. 



829 



our BufTering country, to uquainior us away in tho 
most pestilential climates for a venal enlargement 
of their own territories, for the purjwso of tnictviiig 
them, when obtained, with those \ -ry robber- auii 
murderers they had called upon us to oppose with 
our blood ? What would be our sentiments, if in 
that miserable service we were not to lie considered 
either as English, or as Swedes, Dutch, Danes, but 
as outcasts of the liiraan race? Whilst we were 
fighting those battles ol' their interest and as their 
soldiers, how should we feel, if we were to be exchid 
ed from all their can. !s ? How must we feel, if the 
pride and flower of the English nobility tind gentry, 
who might escape the {)estilential clime and the de- 
vouring sword, should, if taken prisoners, be deliv- 
ered over as rebel subjects, to be condemned as 
rebels, as traitors, as the vilest of all criminals, by 
tribunals formed of Maroon negro slaves, covered 
over with the blood of their masters, who were 
made free and organized into judges for their rob- 
beries and murders? What should we feel under 
this inhuman, insulting, and barbarous protection 
of Muscovites, Swedes, or Hollanders? Should we 
not obtest Heaven, and v. Iiatever justice there is yet 
on earth ? Oppression makes wise men mad ; but 
the distemper is still the madne:- of the wise, which 
is better than the sobriety of fools. Their cry is the 
voice of sacred misery, exalted, not into wild rav- 
ing, but into the sanctified frenzy of prophecy and 
inspiration. In that bitterness of soul, in that indig- 
nation of suffering virtue, in that exaltaii.>r. of de- 
spair, would not persecuted English loyalty cry out 
with an awful warning voice, and denounce tlio de- 
struction that waits on monarchs who consider fidel- 



880 



LETTEBS OK A BEX}ICn)E PEACE. 



u 



iij to them as the most degrading of all vices, who 
suffer it to be punished as the most abominable of 
all crimes, and who have no respect but for rebels, 
traitors, regicides, and furious negro slaves, whose 
crimes have broke their chains? "Would not this 
warm language of high indignation have more of 
sound reason in it, more of real aflFection, more of 
true attachment, than all the lullabies of flatterers 
who would hush monarchs to sleep in the arms of 
death? Let them be well convinced, that, if ever 
this example should prevail in its whole extent, it 
will have its full operation. Whilst kings stand firm 
on their base, though under that base there is a sure- 
wrought mine, there will not be wanting to their 
levees a single person of those who are attached to 
their fortune, and not to their persons or cause ; 
but hereafter none will support a tottering throne. 
Some will fly for fear of being crushed under the 
ruin ; some will join in making it. They will seek, 
in the destruction of royalty, fame and power and 
wealth and the homage of kings, with Reubell, with 
Camot, with R^vellidre, and with the Merlins and 
the Talliens, rather than suffer exile and beggary 
with the Condds, or the Broglies, the Castries, the 
D'Avarays, the S^rents, the Cazalds, and the long line 
of loyal, suffering, patriot nobility, or to be butch- 
ered with the oracles and the victims of the laws, 
the D'Ormessons, the D'Espr^mesnils, and the Male- 
sherbes. This example we shall give, if, instead of 
adhering to our fellows in n cause which is an honor 
to us all, we abandon the lawful government and 
lawfu' corporate body of France, to hunt for a 
shameful and ruinous fraternity with this odious 
usurpation that disgraces civilized society and the 
human race. 




LETTEB I. 



881 



And is, then, example nothing? It is everything. 
Example is the school of mankind, and they wiU learn 
at no other. This war is a war against that example. 
It is not a war for Louis the Eighteenth, or even for 
the property, virtue, fidelity of France. It is a war 
for George the Third, for Francis the Second, and for 
all the dignity, property, honor, virtue, and religion 
of England, of Germany, and of all nations. 

I know that all I have said of the systematic unso- 
ciability of tliis new-invented species of republic, and 
the impossibility of preserving peace, is answered by 
assertuig that the scheme of manners, morals, and 
even of maxims and principles of state, is of no weight 
in a question of peace or war between communities. 
This doctrine is supported by example. The case of 
Algiers is cited, with an hint, as if it were the stronger 
case. I should take no notice of this sort Of induce- 
ment, if I had found it only where first it was. I do 
not want respect for those from whom I first heard 
it ; but, having no contr jversy at present with them, 
I only think it not amiss to rest on it a little, as I find 
it adopted, with much more of the same kind, by sev- 
eral of those on whom such reasoning had formerly 
made no apparent impression. If it had no force to 
prevent us from submitting to this necessary war, it 
furnishes no better ground for our making an unne- 
cessary and ruinous peace. 

This analogical argument drawn from the case of 
Algiers would lead us a good way. The fact is, we 
ourselves with a little cover, others more directly, 
pay a tribute to the Republic of Algiers. Is it meant 
to reconcile us to the payment of a tribute to the 
French Republic? That this, with other things 
more ruinous, will bo demanded hereafter, I little 



I 



882 



LETTEBS ON A ?EOICIDE PEACE. 



* k 



ti< r 



doubt ; but for the present this will not be avowed, 
— though our minds are to be gradually prepared 
for it. In truth, the arguments from this case are 
worth little, even to those who approve the buying 
ar Algerine forbearance of piracy. Tliere are many 
things which men do not approve, tliat they must do 
to avoid a greater evil. To argue from thence that 
they are to act in the same manner in all cases is 
turning necessity into a law. Upon what is matter 
of prudence, the argument concludes the contrary 
way. Because we have done one humiliating act, 
we ought with infinite caution to admit more acts of 
the same nature, lest humiliation should become oiu' 
habitual state. Matters of prudence are under the 
dominion of circumstances, and not of logical anal 
ogies. It is absurd to take it otherwise. 

I, for 6ne, do more than doubt the policy of this 
kind of convention with Algiers. On those who think 
as I do the argument ad hominem can make no sort 
of impression. I know something of the constitution 
and compositica of this very extraordinay republic. 
It ha.- a constitution, I admit, similar to the present 
tumultuous military tyranny of France, by which an 
handful of obscure ruffians domineer over a fertile 
country and a brave people. For the composition, 
too, I admit the Algerine community resembles that 
of France, — being formed out of the very scum, scan- 
dal, disgrace, and pest of the Turkish Asia. The 
Grand Seigrninr, to disburden the country, suffers the 
Dey to reci in his dominions tl)e corps of janiza- 
ries, or asapiis, which form tlie Directory and Coun- 
cil of Elders of the African Republic one and indivis- 
ible. But notwithstanding this resemblance, which 
I allow, I never shall so far injure the Janizarian Re- 



LliTTER I. 



888 



public of Algiers as to put it in comparison, for every 
sort of crime, turpitude, and oppression, with the 
Jacobin Republic of Paris. There is no question 
with me to which of thi two 1 should choose to be a 
neighbor or a subV^ct. But, situated as I am, I am 
in no danger of bv^coming to Algiers either the one 
or the other. It is not so in my relation to the athe- 
istical fanatics of France. I am their neighbor ; I 
may become their subject. Have the gentlemen who 
borrowed this happy parallel no idea of the different 
conduct to be held with regard to the very same evil 
at an immense distance and when it is at your door ? 
when its power is enormous, as when it is compara- 
tively as feeble as its distance is remote ? when there 
is a barrier of language and usages, which prevents 
corruption through certain old correspondences and 
habitudes, from the contagion of the horrible novel- 
ties that are introduced into everything else ? I can 
contemplate without dread a royal or a national tiger 
on the borders of Pegu. I can look at him with an 
easy curiosity, as prisoner within bars in the menage- 
rie of the Tower. But if, by Haheas Corpus, or oth- 
erwise, he was to come into the lobby of the House 
of Commons whilst your door was open, any of you 
would be more stout than wise who would not gladly 
make your escape out of the back windows. I cer- 
tainly should dread more from a wild-cat in my bed- 
chamber than from all the lions that roar in the 
deserts behind Algiers. But in this parallel it is the 
cat that is at a distance, and the lions and tigers that 
are in our antechambers and our lobbies. Algiers 
is not near ; Algiers is not powerful ; Algiers is not 
our neighbor; Algiers is not infectious. Algiers, 
whatever it may be, is an old creation ; and we have 



ib' 



$ 



I: tH 



-^ % 



334 



LETTERS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



good data to calculate all the miscLief to be appre- 
hended from it. When I find Algiers transferred to 
Calais, I will tell you what I think of that point. In 
the mean time, the case quoted from the Algerine 
Reports will not apply as authority. We shall put it 
out of court ; and so far as that goes, let the counsel 
for the Jacobin peace take nothing by their motion. 

When we voted, as you and I did, with many 
more whom you and I respect and love, to resist this 
enemy, we were providing for dangers that were 
direct, home, pressing, and not remote, contingent, 
uncertain, and formed upon loose analogies. We 
judged of the danger with which we were menaced 
by Jacobin France from the whole tenor of her con- 
ddct, not from one or two doubtful or detached acts 
or expressions. I not only concurred in the idea of 
combining with Europe in this war, but to the best 
of my power even stimulated ministers to that con- 
junction of interests and of efforts. I joined them 
with all my soul, on the principles contained in that 
manly and masterly state-paper wliich I have two or 
three times referred to,* and may still more frequent- 
ly hereafter. The diplomatic collection never was 
more enriched than with this piece. The historic 
facts justify every stroke of the master. " Thus 
painters write their names at Co." 

Various persons may concur in the same measure 
on various grounds. Tliey may be various, without 
being contrary to or exclusive of each other. I 
thought the insolent, unprovoked aggression of the 
Regicide upon our ally of Holland a good ground of 
war. I think his manifest attempt to overturn the 
balance of Europe a good ground of war. As a good 
• Declaration, Whitehall, Oct. 29, 1793. 



^um 



LETTEB I. 



885 



ground of war I consider his declaration of war on 
his Majesty and his kingdom. But though I have 
taken all these to my aid, I consider them as nothing 
more than as a sort of evidence to indicate tlie trea- 
sonable mind within. Long before their acts of 
aggression and their declaration of war, the faction 
in France had assumed a form, had adopted a body 
of principles and maxims, and had regularly and 
systematically acted on them, by which she virtually 
had put herself in a posture which was in itself a 
declaration of war against mankind. 

It is said by the Directory, in their several mani- 
festoes, that we of the people are tumultuous for 
peace, and that ministers pretend negotiation to 
amuse us. This they have learned from the lan- 
guage of many amongst ourselves, whose conversa- 
tions have been one main cause of whatever extent 
the opinion for peace with Regicide may be. But 
I, who think the ministers unfortunately to be but 
too serious in their proceedings, find myself obliged 
to say a little more on this subject of the popular 
opinion. 

Before our opinions are quoted against ourselves, 
it is proper, that, from our serious deliberation, they 
may be worth quoting. It is without reason we 
praise the wisdom of our Constitution in putting un- 
der the discretion of the crown the awful trust of 
war and peace, if the ministers of the crown virtually 
return it again into our hands. The trust was placed 
there as a sacred deposit, to secure us against popu- 
lar rashness in plunging into wars, and against the 
effects of popular dismay, disgust, or lassitude, in 
getting out of them as imprudently as we might first 
engage in them. To have no other measure in judg- 



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386 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



ing of those great objects than our momentary opin- 
ions and desires is to throw us back upon that very 
democracy which, in this part, our Constitution was 
formed to avoid. 

It is no excuse at all for a minister who at our 
desire takes a measure contrary to our safety, that it 
is our own act. He who does not stay the hand of 
suicide is guilty of murder. On our par:, I say, that 
to be instructed is not to be degraded or enslaved. 
Information is an advantage to us ; and we havj a 
right to demand it. He that is bound to act hi the 
dark cannot be said to act freely. When it appears 
evident to our governors that our desires and our 
interests are at variance, they ou^ht not to gratify 
the former at the expense of the latter. Statesmen 
are placed on an eminence, that they may have a 
larger horizon than we can possibly command. They 
have a whole before them, which we can contemplate 
only in the parts, and often without the necessary 
relations. Ministers are not only our natural rulers, 
but our natural guides. Reason, clearly and man- 
fully delivered, has in itself a mighty force ; but 
reason in the mouth of legal authority is, I may 
fairly say, irresistible. 

I admit that reason of state will not, in many cir- 
cumstances, permit the disclosure of tlie true gi-ound 
of a public proceeding. In that case silence is manly, 
and it is wise. It is fair to call for trust, when the 
principle of reason itself suspends its public use. I 
take the distinction to be this : the ground of a par- 
ticular measure making a part of a plan it is rarely 
proper to divulge ; all the broader grounds of policy, 
on which the general plan is to be adopted, ought 
as rarely to be concealed. They who have not the 



^^^ 



LETTER I. 



337 



whole cause before them, call them politicians, call 
them people, call them what you will, are no judges. 
The difficulties of the case, as well as its fair side, 
ought to be presented. This ought to be done ; and 
it is all that can be done. When we have our true 
situation distinctly presented to us, if then we re- 
solve, with a blind and headlong violence, to resist 
the admonitions of our friends, and to cast ourselves 
into the hands of our potent and irreconcilable foes, 
then, and not till then, the ministers stand acquitted 
before God and man for whatever may come. 

Lamenting, as I do, that the matter has not had 
60 full and free a discussion as it requires, I mean to 
omit none of the points which seem to me necessary 
for consideration, previous to an arrangement wliich 
is forever to decide the form and the fate of Europe. 
In the course, therefore, of what 1 shall have the hon- 
or to address to you, I propose the following questions 
to your serious thoughts. — 1. Wliether the present 
system, which stands for a government, in France, be 
such as in peace and war affects the neighboring 
states in a manner different from the internal govern- 
ment that formerly prevailed in that country ? — 2. 
Whether that system, siipposing its views hostile to 
other nations, possesses any means of being hurtful to 
them peculiar to itself ? — 3. Whether there has been 
lately such a change in France as to alter the nature 
of its system, or its effect upon other powers? — 4. 
Whether any public declarations or engagements ex- 
ist, on the part of the allied powers, which stand in 
the way of a treaty of peace which supposes the right 
and confirms tlie power of the Regicide faction in 
France ? — 5. What the state of the other powers of 
Europe will be with respect to each other and their 



VOL. V. 



22 



^ 






- •4»^.*m- ■'•*». i»»-- 



838 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACB. 






colonies, on the conclusion of a Kogicide peace ? — 6. 
Whether we are driven to the absolute necessity of 
making that kind of peace ? 

These hoads of inquiry will enable us to make the 
application of the several matters of fact and topics 
of argument, that occur in this vast discussion, to 
certain fixed principles. I do not mean to confine 
myself to the order in which they stand. I shall dis- 
cuss them in such a manner as shall appear to me the 
best adapted for showing their mutual bearings and 
relations. Here, then, I close *he public matter of 
my letter ; but before I have done, let me say one 
word in apology for myself. 

In wishing this nominal peace not to be precipitat- 
ed, I am sure no man living is less disposed to blame 
the present ministry than I am. Some of my oldest 
friends (and I wish I could say it of more of thom) 
make a part in that ministry. There are some, in- 
deed, " whom my dim eyes in vain explore." In my 
mind, a greater calamity could not have fallen on 
the public than the exclusion of one of them. But I 
drive away that, with other melancholy thoughts. 
A great deal ought to be said upon that subject, or 
nc^thing. As to the distinguished persons to whom 
my friends who remain are joined, if benefits no- 
bly and generously con fern (^ onglit to procure good 
wishes, they are entitled to my best vows ; and they 
have them all. They have administered to me the 
only consolation I am capable of rccci\'iag, which is, 
to know that no individual will suffer by my thirty 
years' service to the public. If things should give 
us the comparative happiness of a struggle, I shall 
be found, 1 was going to say fighting, (that would be 
foolish,) but dying, by the aide of Mr. Pitt. I must 



LETTEB I. 



889 



add, that, if anything defensive in our domestic sys" 
tem can possibly save us from the disasters of a Regi- 
cide peace, he is the man to save us. If the finances 
in such a case can be repaired, he is the man to re> 
pair them. If I should lament any of his acts, it is 
only when they appear to me to have no resemblance 
to acts of his. But let him not have a confidence in 
himself which no human abilities can warrant. His 
abilities are fully equal (and that is to say much for 
any man) to those which are opposed to him. But if 
we look to him as our security against the consequen- 
ces of a Regicide peace, let us be assured that a Regi- 
cide peace and a constitutional ministry are terms 
that will not agree. With a Regicide peace the king 
cannot long have a minister to serve him, nor the 
minister a king to serve. If the Great Disposer, in 
reward of the royal and the private virtues of our 
sov'jrcign, should call him from the calamitous spec- 
tacles which will attend a state of amity with Regi- 
cide, his successor will surely sec them, unless the 
same Providence greatly anticipates the course of Na- 
ture. Thinking thus, (and not, as I conceive, on 
liglit grounds,) I dare not flatter the reigning sov- 
ereign, nor cny minister he has or can have, nor his 
successor apparant, nor any of those who may be 
called to serve him, with what appears to me a false 
state of their situation. We cannot have them and 
that peace together. 

I do not forget that there had been a considerable 
difference between several of our friends (with my in- 
significant self) and the great man at the head of 
ministry, in an early stage of these discussions. But 
I am sure there was a period in which we agreed bet- 
ter in the danger of a Jacobin existence in France. 



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LETTEB8 OIT A BEOICIDE PEACE 




At one time he and all Europe seemed to feel it 
But why am not I converted with so many great pow- 
ers and 80 many great ministers ? It is because I am 
old and slow. I am in this year, 1796, only where 
all the powers of Europe were in 1793. I cannot 
move with this precession of the equinoxes, which is 
preparing for us the return of some very old, I am 
afraid no golden era, or the commencement of some 
new era that must be denominated from some new 
metal. In this crisis I must hold my tongue or I 
must speak with freedom. Falsehood and delusion 
are allowed in no case whatever : but, as in the exer- 
cise of all the virtues, there is an economy of truth. 
It is a sort of temperance, by which a man speaks 
truth with measure, that he may speak it the longer. 
But as the same rules do not hold in all cases, what 
would be right for you, who may presume on a series 
of years before you, would have no sense tor me, who 
cannot, without absurdity, calculate on six months of 
life. What I say I must say at once. Whatever I 
write is in its nature testamentary. It may have the 
weakness, but it has the sincerity, of a dying decla- 
ration. For the few days I have to linger here I 
am removed completely from the busy scene of the 
world ; but I hold myself to be still responsible for 
everything that I have done whilst I continued on the 
place of action. If the rawest tyro in politics has 
been influenced by the authority of my gray hairs, 
ai;d lod by anything in my speeches or my writmgs 
to enter into this war, he has a right to call upon me 
to know why I have changed my opinions, or why, 
when those I voted with have adopted better notions, 
I persevere in exploded error. 
When I seem not to acquiesce in the acts of those 



LOTTEB I. 



841 



I respect in every degree short of superstition, I am 
obliged to give my reasons fully. 1 cannot set nj 
authority against their authority. But to exert rea- 
sou is not to revolt against authority. Reason and 
authority do not move in the same parallel. That 
reason is an amictu curvx who speaks de piano, not 
pro tnhunali. It is a friend who makes an useful 
suggestion to the court, without questioning its juris- 
diction. Whilst he acknowledges its competence, he 
promotes its efficiency. I shall pursue the plan I 
have chalked out in my letters that follow this. 



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LETTER II. 



ON THE GENIUS AND CHARACTER OF THE FRENCH 
REVOLUTION AS IT REGARDS OTHER NATIONS. 



/' 1 



MY DEAR SIR, — I closed my first letter with 
serious matter, and I hope it has employed 
your thoughts. The system of peace must have a 
reference to the system of the war. On that ground, 
I must therefore again recall your mind to our origi- 
nal opinions, which time aj d events have not taught 
me to vary. 

My ideas and my principles led me, in this contest, 
to encounter France, not as a state, but as a faction. 
The vast territorial extent of that country, its im- 
mense population, its riches of production, its riches 
of commerce and convention, the whole aggregate 
mass of what in ordinary cases constitutes the force 
of a state, to me were but objects of secondary con- 
sideration. They might be bplaiiced ; and they have 
been often more than balanced. Great as these 
things are, they are not what make the faction for- 
midable. It is the faction that makes them truly 
dreadful. That faction is the evil spirit that pos- 
sesses the body of France, — that informs it as a 
soul, — that stamps upon its ambition, and upon all 
its pursuits, a characteristic mark, which strongly 
distinguishes them from the same general passions 
and the same general views in other men and in 
other communities. It is that spirit which inspires 



U''' 



LETTER n. 



843 



into them a new, a pernicious, a desolating activity. 
Constituted as France was ten years ago, it was not 
in that France to shake, to shatter, and to overwhelm 
Europe in the manner that we behold. A sure de- 
struction impends over those infatuated princes who, 
in the conflict with this new and unheard-of power, 
proceed as if they were engaged in a war that bore 
a resemblance to their former contests, or that they 
can make peace in the spirit of their former arrange 
ments of pacification. Here the beaten path is the 
very reverse of the safe road. 

As to me, I was always steadily of opinion that this 
disorder was not in its nature intermittent. I con- 
ceived that the contest, once begun, could not be laid 
down again, to be resumed at our discretion, but that 
our first struggle with this evil would also be our last. 
I never thought we could make peace with the sys- 
tem ; because it was not for the sake of an object we 
pursued in rivalry with each other, but with the sys- 
tem itself that we were at war. As I understood the 
matter, we were at war, not with its conduct, but 
with its existence, -convinced that its existence and 
its hostility were the same. 

The faction is not local or territorial. It is a gen- 
eral evil. Where it least appears in action, it is still 
full of life. In its sleep it recruits its strength and 
prepares its exertion. Its spirit lies deep in the cor- 
ruptions of our common nature. The social order 
which restrains it feeds it. It exists in every coun- 
try in Europe, and among all orders of men m every 
country, who look up to France as to a common 
head. The centre is there. The circumference is 
the world of Europe, wherever the race of Europe 
may be settled Everywhere else the faction is mili- 



.*'i' 



844 



LETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



flit 



tant ; iu France it is triumpliaut. In France is the 
bank of deposit and the bank of circulation of all the 
pernicious principles that are forming in every state. 
It will be a folly scarcely deserving of pity, and too 
mischievous for contempt, to think of restraining it 
in any other country whilst it is predominant there. 
War, instead of being the cause of its force, has sus- 
pended its operation. It has given a reprieve, at 
least, to the Cliristian world. 

The true nature of a Jacobin war, in the begin- 
ning, was by most of the Christian powers felt, ac- 
knowledged, and even in the most precise manner 
declared. In the joint manifesto published by the 
Emperor and the King of Prussia, on the 4th of Au- 
gust, 1792, it is expressed in the clearest terms, and 
on principles which could not fail, if they had ad- 
hered to them, of classing those monarchs with the 
first benefactors of mankind. This manifesto was 
published, as they themselves express it, " to lay 
open to the present generation, as well as to posteri- 
ty, their motives, their intentions, and the disinterest- 
edness of their personal views: taking up arms for 
the purpose of preserving social and political order 
amongst all civilized nations, and to secure to each 
state its religion, happiness, independence, territories, 
and real constitution." — " On this ground they hoped 
that all empires and all states would be unanimous, 
and, becoming the firm guardians of the happiness 
of mankind, that they could not fail to unite their 
efforts to rescue a numerous nation from its own fury, 
to preserve Europe from the return of barbarism, and 
the universe from tlie subversion and anarchy with 
which it was threatened." The whole of that nob'e 
performance ought to be read at the first meeting v/t 



m* 



t 



LETTER n. 



3i5 



any congress which may assemble foi the purpose of 
pacification. In that piece " these powers expressly 
renounce all views of personal aggrandizement," and 
confine themselves to objects worthy of so generous, 
so heroic, and so perfectly wise and politic an enter- 
prise. It was to the principles of this confederation, 
and to no other, th-.t we wished our sovereign and 
our country to accede, as a part of the commonwealth 
of Europe. To these principles, with some tnflmg 
exceptions and limitations, they did fully accede.* 
And all our friends who took ofl&ce acceded to the 
ministry, (whether wisely or not,) as I always under- 
stood the matter, on the faith and on the pnnciples 
of that declaration. 

As long as these powers flattered themselves that 
the menace of force would produce the effect of force, 
they acted on those declarations ; but when their men- 
aces failed of success, their efforts took a new direc- 
tion. It did not appear to them that virtue and 
heroism ought to be purchpied by millions of rix- 
dollars. It is a dreadful truth, but it is a truth that 
cannot be concealed: in ability, in dexterity, in the 
distinctness of their views, the Jacobins are our su- 
periors. They saw the thing right from the very be- 
ginning. Whatever were the first motives to the war 
among politicians, they saw that in its spirit, and for 
its objects, it was a civil war; and as such they pur- 
sued it. It is a war between the partisans of the 
ancient civil, moral, and political order of Europe 
against a sect of fanatical and ambi^'ous atheists 
which means to change them all. It is not France 
extending a foreign empire over other nations: it is 
a sect aiming at universal empire, and beginning with 

• See Declaration, Whitehall, Oct. 29, 1793. 






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846 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



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the conquest of France. The leaders of that sect se- 
cured the centre of Europe ; and that secured, they 
knew, that, whatever might be the event of battles 
and sieges, their cause was victo ious. Whether its 
territory had a little more or a little less peeled from 
its surface, or whether an island or two was detachc' 
from its commerce, to them was of little moment. 
The conquest of France was a glorious acquisition. 
That once well laid as a basis of empire, opportuni- 
ties never could be wanting to regain or to replace 
what had been lost, and dreadfully to avenge them- 
eelves on the faction of their adversaries. 

They saw it was a civil war. It was their business 
to persuade their adversaries that it ought tu be a, for- 
eign war. The Jacobins evervwhere set up a cry 
against the new crusade ; and they intrigued witli 
effect in the cabinet, in the field, and in every private 
society in Europe. Their task was not difficult. The 
condition of princes, and sometimes of first ministers 
too, is to be pitied. The creatures of the desk and 
the creatures of favor had no relish for the principles 
of the manifestoes. They promised no governments, 
no regiments, no revenues from whence emoluments 
might arise by perquisite or by grant. In truth, the 
tribe of vulgar politicians are the lowest of our spe- 
cies. There is no trade so vile and mechanical as 
government in their hands. Virtue is not their habit. 
They are out of themselves in any course of conduct 
recommended only by conscience and glory. A large, 
liberal, and prospective view of the interests of states 
passes with them for romance, and the principles that 
recommend it for the wanderings of a disordered im- 
agination. The calculators compute them out of their 
senses. The jesters cud buffoons shame them out of 



LETTEB n. 



847 



everything grand and elevated. Littleness in object 
and in means to them appears soundness and sobri- 
ety. They think there is nothing worth pursuit, but 
that which they can handle, which they can measure 
with a two-foot rule, which they can tell upon ten 

fingers. , 

Without the principles of the Jacobms, perhaps 
without any principles at all, they played the game 
of that faction. There was a beaten road before 
them. The powers of Europe were armed ; France 
had always appeared dangerous ; the war was easily 
diverted from France as a faction to Franco as a 
state. The princes were easily taught to slide back 
into their old, habitual course of politicF. They were 
easily led to consider the flame& that were consuming 
France, not as a warning to protect their own build- 
ings, (which were without any party-wall, and linked 
by a contignation into the edifice of France,) but as an 
happy occasion for pillaging the goods, and for carry- 
ing off the materials of their neighbor's house. Their 
provident fears wore changed into avaricious bopes. 
They carried on their new designs without seeming 
to abandon the principles of their old policy. They 
pretended to seek, or they flattered themselves that 
they sought, in the accession of new fortresses and 
new territories a defensive security. But the security 
wanted was against a kind of po^. r which was aoc 
60 truly dangerous in its fortresses nor in its terri- 
tories as in its spirit and its principles. They aimed, 
or pretended to aim, at defending themselves against 
a danger from which there can be no security in any 
defmshe plan. If armies and fortresses were a de- 
fence against Jacobinism, Louis the Sixteenth would 
this day reign a powerful monarch over an happy 
people. 



848 



LETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



I 



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m 



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This error obliged them, even in their offensive 
operations, to adopt a plan of war against the suc- 
cess of which there was something little short of 
mathematical demonstration. They refused to take 
any step which might strike at the heart of affairs. 
They seemed unwilling to wound the enemy in any 
vital part. They acted through the whole as if they 
really wished the conservation of the Jacobin power, 
as what might be more favorable than the lawful 
government to the attainment of the petty objects 
they looked for. They always kept on the circum- 
ference ; and the wider and remoter the circle was, 
the more eagerly they chose it as their sphere of 
action in this centrifugal war. The plan they pur- 
sued in its nature demanded great length of time. 
In its execution, they who went the nearest way to 
V. ork were obliged to cover an incredible extent of 
country. It left to the enemy every means of de- 
stroying this extended line of weakness. Ill success 
in any part was sure to defeat the effect of the whole. 
This is true of Austria. It is still more true of Eng- 
land. On this false plan, even good fortune, by fur- 
ther weakening the victor, put him but the further 
off from his object. 

As long as there was any appearance of success, 
the spirit of aggrandizement, and consequently the 
spirit of mutual jealousy, seized upon all the coa- 
lesced powers. Some sought an accession of terri- 
tory at the expense of France, some at the expense 
of each other, some at the expense of third parties ; 
and when the vicissitude of disaster took its turn, 
they found common distress a treacherous bond of 
faith and friendship. 

The greatest skill, conducting the greatest military 



f i 



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_*—-«•-■>—„ 



LETTEB n. 



849 



tion, ai 
basis * 
trievec 
which I. 



apparatus, has been employed ; but it has beeu worse 
thaa uselessly employed, through the false policy of 
the war The operations of the field suffered by the 
errors of the cabinet. If the same spirit continues, 
when peace is made, the peace will fix and perpet- 
uate all the errors of the war; because it will be 
made upon the same false principle. What has been 
lost in the field, in the field may be regained. An 
arrangement of peace in its nature is a permanent 
settlement- it is the effect of counsel and dehbera- 
" lortuitous events. If budt upon a 
ally erroneous, it can only be re- 
of those unforeseen dispensations 
wnicK I . - -wise, ut mysterious. Governor of the 
world sometimes interposes, to snatch nations from 
ruin It would not be pious error, but mad and 
impious presumption, for any one to trust m an un- 
known order of dispensations, in defiance of the rules 
of prudence, which are formed upon the known 
inarch of the ordinary providence of God. 

It was not of that sort of war that I was amongst 
the least considerable, but amongst the most zealous 
advisers; and it is not by the sort of peace now 
talked of that I wish it concluded. It would an- 
swer no great purpose to enter into the particular 
Tors of the war. The whole has been but one 
error It was but nominally a war of alliance. As 
the combined powers pursued it, there was nothing 
to hold an alliance together. There could be no tie 
of horwr in a society for pillage. There could be no 
tie of a common udereBt, where the object did not 
offer such a division amongst the parties as could 
well give them a warm concern in the gains of each 
other, or could, ind.od, form such a body of equiva- 



m 



\l 



350 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



lents as might make one ' " them willing to abutidou 
a separate object of his ambition for the g atiiicatio'i 
of any other member of the alliance. The partition 
of Poland offered an object of spoil in which the pa^ 
ties might agree. They were circumjacent, and each 
might take a portion convenient to his own territory. 
They might dispute about the value of their several 
shares, but the contiguity to each of the demand- 
ants always furnished the means of an adjustment. 
Though hereafter the world will have cause to rue 
this iniquitous measure, and they most who were 
most concerned in it, for the moment there was 
wherewithal in the object to preserve peace amongst 
confederates in wrong. But the spoil of Franco did 
not afford the same facilities for accommodation. 
What might satisfy the House of Austria in a Flem- 
ish frontier afforded no equivalent to tempt the cupid- 
ity of the King of Prussia. What might bo desired 
by Great Britain in the West Indies must be coldly 
and remotely, if at all, felt as an interest at Vienna, 
and it would be felt as something worse than a nega- 
tive interest at Madrid. Austria, long possessed with 
unwise and dangerous designs on Italy, could not 
be very much in earnest about the conservation of 
the old patrimony of the House of Savoy ; and Sar- 
dinia, who owed to an Italian force all her means 
of shutting out France from Italy, of which she has 
been supposed to hold tlio key, would not purchase 
the means of strength upon one side by yielding it 
on the other : she would not readily give the posses- 
sion of Novara for the hope of Savoy No Conti- 
nental power was willing to lose any of its Conti- 
nental objects for the increase of the naval power 
of Great Britain ; and Great Britain would not give 



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►-♦>^-— ■■- »-ii»r*-.r-'— ,■ r T— . 



LETTEB n. 



851 



up any of the objects she sought for, as the means 
of an increase to her naval power, to further their 
attRrandizement. ., j 

The moment this war came to bo considered as a 
war merely of profit, the actual circumstances are 
<.uch that it never could become really a war of alli- 
ance. Nor can the peace be a peace of alliance, un- 
til things are put upon their right bottom. 

I don't find it denied, that, when a treaty is en- 
tered mto for ^aco, a demand will be made on the 
Recncides to sa. uder a great part of their conquests 
on the Continent. -Vill they, in the present state of 
the war, make that surrender without an equivalent .' 
This Continental cession must of course be made in 
favor of that party in the alliance that has suffered 
losses. That party has nothing to furnish towards an 
eouivalent. What equivalent, for instance, has Hol- 
land to offer, who has lost her all ? What equivalent 
can come from the Emperor, every part of whose ter- 
ritories contiguous to France is already withm the 
pale of the Regicide dominior What equivalent has 
Sardinia to offer for Savoy, and for Nice, -I may say, 
for her whole being ? What has shr taken from the 
faction of France? She has lost very near her all, 
and she has gained nothing. What equivalent has 
Spain to give? Alas! she has already F^d for her 
own ransom the furd of equivalent, - and a dreadful 
equivalent it is, to England and io herself. But 1 
put Spain out of the question : she is a province of the 
Jacobin empire, and she must make peace or war ac- 
cording to the orders she receives from the Directory 
of Assassins. In effect and substance, her crown is 

a fief of Regicide. . . , ^„^ 9 

Whence, then, can the compensation be demanded T 



■«/ 



'/ . 



852 



LETTERS ON A RKfilCIDE PEACE. 



Und ibtedly from tlmt power which alone has made 
8ome coaqucsts. That power is England. Will thn 
Allies, then, give away their ancient patrimony, that 
England may keep islands in the West Indies ? They 
neyer can protract the war in good earnest for that 
object ; nor can they act in concert with us, in our 
refusal to grant anything towards their redemption. 
In that case wo are thus situated : either wo must 
give Europe, bound hand and foot, to Franco, or wo 
must quit the West Indies without any one object, 
great or smnll, towards indemnity and security. I 
repeat it, without any advantage whatever : because, 
supposing that our conquest could comprise all that 
France ever possessed in the tropical America, it 
never can amount in any fair estimation to a fair 
equivalent for Holland, for the Austrian Netherlands, 
for the Lower Germany, — t'-at is, for the whole an- 
cient kingdom or circle c ugundy, now under the 
yoke of Regicide, to say nothing of almost all Italy, 
under the same barbarous domination. If wo treat 
in the present situation of things, we have nothing in 
our hands that can redeem Europe. Nor is the Em- 
peror, as I have observed, more rich in the fund of 
equivalents. 

If we look to our stock in the Eastern world, our 
most valuable and systematic acquisitions are made 
in that quarter. Is it from France they are made ? 
France has but one or two contemptible factories, 
subsisting by the offal of the private fortunes of Eng- 
lish individuals to support them, in any part of India. 
I look on the taking of the Cape of Good Hope as the 
securing of a post of great moment ; it does honor to 
those who planned and to those who executed that 
enterprise ; but I speak of it always as comparatively 



4 t' 



^il 



ft-%-P^.rT»|3»".* • -J*.- »— ^ JW — >.•» •- -fTM^- . fc-.J» ,«v»^-4«.-Slf-- *-•"-*"' ' 



LETTER n. 



353 



good, — as good as anything can bo in a scheme of 
war that repels us from a centre, and employs all our 
forces where nothing can be finally decisive. But 
giving, as I freely give, every possible credit to these 
Eastern conquests, I ask one question : — On whom 
are they made ? It is evident, that, if we can keep 
our Eastern conquests, we keep them not at the ex- 
pense of France, but at the expense of Holland, our 
aUy, — oi Holland, the imnpndiate cause of the war, 
the nation whom we had undertaken to protec, md 
not of the Republic which it was our business to de- 
stroy. If we return the African and the Asiatic con- 
quests, we put them into the hands of a nominal statv- 
(to thp.t Holland is reduced) uaable to r . 'n them, 
and wliich will virtually leave them undc ■ e direc- 
tion of France. If we withhold tliom, Holland de- 
clines still more as a state. She loses so much 
carrying trade, and that means of keeping up the 
small degree of naval power she holds: for which 
policy alone, and not for any commercial gain, she 
maintains the Cape, or any settlement beyond it. In 
that case, resentment, faction, and even necessity, 
will throw iier more and more into the power of the 
new, mischievous Republic. But on the probable 
state of Holland i shall say more, when in this cor- 
respondence I come to talk ■ with you the state 
in which any sort of Jacof peace will leave all 
Europe. 

So far as to the East Indies. 
As to the West Indies, — indeed, as to either, if 
we look for matter of exchange in order to ransom 
Europe, — it is easy to show that we have taken a 
terribly roundabout road. I cannot conceive, even 
if, for the sake of holding conquests there, we shoula 



■,'♦.' 



hi 



VOL. V. 



854 



LETTEBS ON A BGQICIDE PEACE. 



\ 'I 



refuse to redeem Holland, and the Austrian Netlier- 
lands, and the hither Germany, that Spain, merely 
as she is Spain, (and forgetting that the Regicide 
ambassador governs at Madrid,) will see with perfect 
satisfaction Great Britain sole mistress of the isles. 
In truth, it appears to me, that, when we come to 
balance our account, we shall find in the proposed 
peace only the pure, simple, and unendowed charms 
of Jacobin amity. We shall have the satisfaction of 
knowing that no blood or treasure has been spared 
by the Allies for support of the Regicide system. 
We shall reflect at leisure on one great truth : that it 
was ten times more easy totally to destroy the system 
itself than, when established, it would be to reduce 
its power, — and that this republic, most formidable 
abroad, was of all things the weakest at home ; that 
her frontier was terrible, her interior feeble ; that it 
was matter of choice to attack her where she is invin- 
cible, and to spare her where she was ready to dis- 
solve by her own internal disorders. We shall reflect 
that our plan was good neither for oflence nor de- 
fence. 

It would not be at all difficult to prove that an 
army of an hundred thousand men, horse, foot, and 
artillery, might have been employed against the ene- 
my, on the very soil which he has usurped, at a far 
less expense than has been squandered away upon 
tropical adventures. In these adventures it was not 
an enemy we had to vanquish, but a cemetery to 
conquer. In carrying on the war in the West Indies, 
the hostile sword is merciful, the country in which 
we engage is the dreadful enemy. There the Euro- 
pean conqueror finds a cruel defeat in the very fruits 
of his success. Every advantage is but a new demand 



LEPTEB n. 



855 



on Engla?id for recruits to the West Indian grave. 
In a West India war, the Regicides have for their 
troops a race of fierce barbarians, to whom the poi- 
soned air, in which our youth inhale certain death, is 
salubrity and life. To them the climate is the surest 
and most faithful of allies. 

Had we carried on the war on the side of France 
which looks towards the Channel or the Atlantic, wo 
should have attacked our enemy on his weak and 
unarmed side. We should not have to reckon on 
the loss of a man who did not fall in battle. We 
should have an ally in the heart of the country, who 
to our hundred thousand would at one time have 
added eighty thousand men at the least, and all 
animated by principle, by enthusiasm, and by ven- 
geance: motives which secured them to the cause 
in a very different manner from some of those allies 
whom we subsidized with millions. This ally, (or 
rather, this principal in the war,) by the confession 
of the Regicide himself, was more formidable to him 
than all his othe foes united. Warring there, we 
should have led our arms to the capital of Wrong. 
Defeated, we could not fail (proper precautions tak- 
en) of a sure retreat. Stationary, and only sup- 
porting the royalists, an impenetrable barrier, an 
impregnable rampart, would have been formed be- 
tween the enemy and his naval power. We are 
probably the only nation who have declined to act 
against an enemy when it might have been done in 
his own country, and wlio, having an armed, a pow- 
erful, and a long victorious ally in that country, 
decUued all effectual cooperation, and suffered hun 
to perish for want of support. On the plan of a war 
in France, every advantage that our allies might 



m 



356 



LETTEB3 ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



1 1i 



obtain would be doubled in its effect. Disasters on 
the one side might have a fair chance of being com- 
pensated by victories on the other. Had we brought 
the main of our force to bear upon that quarter, all 
the operations of the British and Imperial crowns 
would have been combined. The war would have had 
system, correspondence, and a certain direction. But 
as the war has been pursued, the operations of the 
two crowns have not the smallest degree of mutual 
bearing or relation. 

Had acquisitions in the "West Indies been our ob- 
ject, on success in France, everything reasonable in 
those remote parts might be demanded with decorum 
and justice and a sure eflFect. Well might we call 
for a recompense in America for those services to 
which Europe owed its safety. Having abandoned 
this obvious policy connected with principle, we have 
seen the Regicide power taking the reverse course, 
and making real conquests in the West Indies, to 
which all our dear-bought advantages (if we could 
hold them) are mean and contemptible. The noblest 
island within the tropics, worth all that we possess 
put together, is by the vassal Spaniard delivered into 
her hands. The island of Hispaniola (of which we 
have but one poor corner, by a slippery hold) is per- 
haps equal to England in extent, and in fertility is 
far superior. The part possessed by Spain of that 
great island, made for the seat and centre of a trop- 
ical empire, was not improved, to be sure, as the 
French division had been, before it was systemat- 
ically destroyed by the Cannibal Republic ; but it is 
not only the far larger, but the far more salubrious 
and more fertile part. 

It was delivered into the hands of the barbarians, 






LETTEB n. 



857 



without, as I can find, any public reclamation on our 
part, not only in contravention to one of tlie fundar 
mental treaties that compose the public law of Eu- 
rope, but in defiance of the fundamental colonial 
policy of Spain herself. This part of the Treaty of 
Utrecht was made for great general ends, unquestion- 
ably ; but whilst it provided for those general ends, 
it was in affirmance of that particular policy. It was 
not to injure, but to save Spain, by making a settle- 
ment of her estate which prohibited her to alienate 
to France. It is her policy not to see the balance of 
West Indian power overturned by France or by Great 
Britain. Whilst the monarchies subsisted, this un- 
principled cession was what the influence of the elder 
branch of the House of Bourbon never dared to at- 
tempt on the younger : but cannibal terror has been 
more powerful than family influence. The Bourbon 
monarchy of Spain is united to the Republic of France 
by what may be truly called the ties of blood. 

By this measure the balance of power in the West 
Indies is totally destroyed. It has followed the bal- 
ance of power in Europe. It is not alone what shall 
be left nominally to the Assassins that is theirs. 
Theirs is the whole empire of Spain in America. 
That stroke finishes all. I should be glad to see our 
Buppliant negotiator in the act of putting his feather 
to the ear of the Directory, to make it unclench the 
fist, and, by his tickling, to charm that rich prize out 
of the iron gripe of robbery and ambition ! It does 
not require much sagacity to discern that no power 
wholly baffled and defeated in Europe can flatter it- 
self with conquests in the West Indies. In that state 
of things it can neither keep nor hold. No ! It can- 
not even long make war, if the grand bank and de- 



f. / 



358 



T.jrrTEBS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



II ;i 



\ il 






I % 



posit of its force is at all in the West Indies. But 
here a scene opens to my view too important to pass 
by, perhaps too critical to touch. Is it possible that 
it should not present itself in all its relations to a 
mind habituated to consider either war or peace on 
a large scale or as one whole? 

Unfortunately, other ideas have prevailed. A re- 
mote, an expensive, a murderous, and, in the end, an 
unproductive adventure, carried on upon ideas of 
mercantile knight-errantry, without any of the gen- 
erous wildness of Quixotism, is considered as sound, 
solid sense ; and a war in a wholesome climate, a 
war at our door, a war directly on the enemy, a war 
in the heart of his country, a war in concert with au 
internal ally, and in combination with the external, 
is regarded as folly and romance. 

My dear friend, I hold it impossible that these con- 
siderations should have escaped the statesmen on both 
sides of the water, and on both sides of the House of 
Commons. How a question of peace can be discussed 
without having them in view I cannot imagine. If 
you or others see a way out of these difficulties, I am 
happy. I see, indeed, a fund from whence equiva- 
lents will be proposed. I see it, but I cannot just 
now touch it. It is a question of high moment. It 
opens another Iliad of woes to Europe. 

Such is the time proposed for making a common 
political peace to which no one circumstance is pro- 
pitious. As to the grand principle of the peace, it is 
left, as if by common consent, wholly out of the ques- 
tion. 

Viewing things in this light, I have frequently sunk 
into a degree of despondency and dejection hardly to 
be described ; yet out of the profoundest uepths of 



LBTIER II. 



859 



this despair, an impulse which I have m vain endear- 
ored to resist has urged me to raise one feeble cry 
aiminst this unfortunate coalition which is formed at 
iSme, in order to make a coalition with France, sub- 
versive of the whole ancient order of the world. JNo 
disaster of war, no calamity of season, could ever 
strike me with half the horror which I felt from what 
is introduced to us by thi. junction of parties under 
the soothing name of peace. We are apt to speak of 
a lo^ and pusillanimous spirit as the ordinary cause 
bv which dubious vars termir.ate in humiliating trea. 
ties It is here the direct contrar> I am perfectly 
astonished at the boldness of character, at the intre- 
pidity of mind, the Brmness of nerve, in those who 
are able with deliberation to face the perils of Jac- 
obin fraternity. . „„*„,n 
This fraternity is, indeed, so ternble m its nature, 
and in its manifest consequences, that there is noway 
of quieting our apprehensions about it, but by totally 
putting it out of sight, by substituting ^or it, through 
a sort of periphrasis, something of .m ambiguous 
quality, and describing such a connection under tlie 
terms of « the usual relations of peace and amity.^ 
By this means the proposed fraternity is hustled in 
the crowd of those treaties which imply no wange m 
the public law of Europe, and which do not upon sys- 
tem affect the interior condition of nations. It is 
confounded with those conventions in which matters 
of dispute among sovereiftn powers are compromised 
by the takinsr off a duty more or less, by the surr-TV- 
der of a frontier town or a disputed district on the 
.ne side or the other, by pactions ic which the pre- 
tensions of families are settled, (as by a convoyarcer 
making family substiturions and successions,) with- 



860 



LETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



' •' 



i; .1' 



' >i 



out any alteration in the laws, manners, -^ ligion, 
privileges, and customs of the cities or territories 
which are the subject of such arrangements. 

All this body of old conventions, composing the 
vast and voluminous collection called the Corps Di- 
plomatique, forms the code or statute law, as the 
methodized reasonings of the great publicists and ju- 
rists form the digest and jurisprudence, of tlie Chris- 
tian world. In these treasures are to be found the 
usual relations of peace and amity in civilized Eu- 
rope ; and there the relations of ancient France were 
to be found amongst the rest. 

The present system in France is not the ancient 
France. It is not the ancient France with ordina- 
ry ambition and ordinary means. It is not a new 
power of an old kind. It is a new power of a new 
species. When su h a questionable shape is to be 
admitted for the first time into the brotherhood of 
Christendom, it is not a mere matter of idle curios- 
ity to consider how far it is in its nature alliable with 
the rest, or whether " the relations of peace and ami- 
ty " with this new state are likely to be of the same 
nature with the usxial relations of the states of Eu- 
rope. 

The Revolution in France had the relation of 
France to other nations as one of its principal ob- 
jects. The changes made by that Revolution were 
not the better to accommodate her to the old and 
usual relations, but to produce new ones. The Rev- 
olution was made, not to make France free, but to 
make her formidable, — not to make her a neigh- 
bor, but a mistress, — not to make her more observ- 
ant of laws, but to put her in a condition to impose 
them. To make France truly formidable, it was ne- 



. •: 






LETTEH II. 



861 



cessary that Prance should be new-modelled. They 
who have not followed the train of the late pro- 
ceedings have been led by deceitful representations 
(which deceit made a part in the plan) to coi'ce've 
that this totally new model of a state, in which noth- 
ing escaped a change, was made with a view to its 
internal relations only. 

In the Revolution of France, two sorts of men 
were principally concerned in giving a character 
and determination to its pursuits: the philosophers 
and the politicians. They took different ways, but 
they met in the same end. 

The philosophers had one predominant object, which 
they pursued with a fanatical fury,— that is, the ut- 
ter extirpation of religion. To that every question of 
empire wu, subordinate. They had rather domineer 
m a parish of atheists than rule over a Christian 
world. Their temporal ambition was wholly sub- 
servient to their proselytizing spirit, in which they 
were not exceeded by Mahomet himself. 

They who have made but superficial studies in the 
natural history of the human mind have been taught 
to look on religious opinions as the only cause of 
enthusiastic zeal and sectarian propagation. But 
there is no doctrine whatever, on which men can 
warm, that is not capable of the very same effect. 
The social nature of man impels him to propagate 
his principles, as much as physical impulses urge him 
to propagate his kind. The passions give zeal and 
vehemence. The understanding bestows design and 
system. The whole man moves under the discipline 
of his opinions. Religion is among the most pow- 
erful causes of enthusiasm. When anythmg con- 
cernuig it becomes an object of much meditation, it 



ft 



i 






irr-r 



862 



LKTTEBS ON A BEOICIOE PEACE. 



IM 



ii 



cannot be indifferent to the mind. They who do not 
love religion hate it. The rebels to God perfectly 
abhor the Author of their being. They hate Him 
"with all their heart, with all their mind, with aU 
their soul, and with all their strength." He never 
presents Himself to their thoughts, but to menace 
and alarm them. They cannot strike the sun out 
ol heaven, but they are able to raise a smouldering 
smoke that obscures him from tlieir own eyes. Not 
being able to revenge themselves on God, they have 
a delight in vicarioubiy defacing, degrading, tortur- 
ing, and tearing in pieces His image in man. Let no 
one judge of them by what he has conceived of them, 
when they were not incorporated, and had no lead. 
They were then only passengers in a common vehi- 
cle. They were then carried along with the general 
motion of religion in the community, and, without 
being aware of it, partook of its influence. In that 
situation, at worst, their nature was left free to coun- 
terwork their principles. They despaired of giving 
any very general currency to their opinions: they 
considered them as a reserved privilege for the chosen 
few. But when the possibility of dominion, lead, and 
propagation presented themselves, and that the ambi- 
tion which before had so often made them hypocrites 
might rather gain than lose by a daring avowal of 
their sentiments, then the nature of this infernal 
spirit, which has " evil for its good," appeared in its 
full perfection. Nothing, indeed, but the possession 
of some power can with any certainty discover what 
at the bottom is the true character of any man. 
Without reading the speeches of Vergniaud, Fran- 
qais of Nantes, Isnard, and some others of that sort, 
it would not be easy to conceive the passion, ran- 






LETTER n. 



368 



cor, and malice of their tongues and hearts, luey 
worked themselves up to a perfect frenzy against 
religion and all its professors. They tore the rep- 
utation of the clergy to pieces by their Infuriated 
declamations and invectives, before they lacerated 
their bodies by their massacres. This fanatical athe- 
ism left out, we omit the principal feature in the 
French Revolution, and a principal consideration with 
regard to the effects to be expected from a peace 

with it. . 

The other sort of men were the politicians, io 
tiiera, who had little or not at all reflected on the 
subject, religion was in itself no object of love or 
hatred. They disbelieved it, and that was all. 
Neutral with regard to that object, they took the 
side which in the present state of things might best 
answer their purposes. They soon found that they 
could not do without the philosophers ; and the phi- 
losophers soon made them sensible that the destruc- 
tion of religion was to supply them with means of 
conquest, first at home, and then abroad. The phi- 
losophers were the active internal agitators, and sup- 
plied the spirit and principles: the second gave the 
practical direction. Sometimes the one predominat- 
ed in the composition, sometimes the other. The on- 
ly difference between them was in the necessity of 
concealing the general design for a time, and in their 
dealing with foreign nations: the fanatics going 
straight forward and openly, the politicians by the 
surer mode of zigzag. In the course of events, this, 
among other causes, produced fierce and bloody con- 
tentions between them ; but at the bottom they tho^ 
oughly agreed in all the objects of ambition and 
irreligion, and substantially in all the means of pro- 
moting these ends. 



\m 



864 



LETTEBS ON ▲ BEOICIDE PEACE. 



, t ; 'I 



)=^1M 



U 



'> Mt 



%. 



hi.' 



Without question, to bring about the unexampled 
eyent of the French Revolution, the concurrence of a 
very great number of views and passions was neces- 
sary. In that stupendous work, no one principle by 
which the human mind may have its faculties at once 
invigorated and depraved was left unemployed ; but 
I can speak it to a certainty, and support it by un- 
doubted proofs, that the ruling principle of those who 
acted in the Revolution at statesmen had the exterior 
aggrandizement of France as their ultimate end in 
the most minute part of the internal changes that 
were made. We, who of late years have been drawn 
from an attention to foreign affairs by the importance 
of our domestic discussions, cannot easily form a con- 
ception of the general eagerness of the active find 
energetic part of the French nation, itself tbo most 
active and energetic of all nations, previous to its 
Revolution, upon that subject. I am convinced that 
the foreign speculators in France, under the old gov- 
ernment, were twenty to one of the same description 
then or now in England ; and few of that description 
there were who did not emulously set forward the 
Revolution. The whole official system, particularly 
in the diploraatic part, the regulars, the irregulars, 
down to the clerks in oflBce, (a corps without all 
comparison more numerous than the same amongst 
us,) cooperated in it. All the intriguers in foreign 
politics, all the spies, all the intelligencers, actually 
or late in function, all the candidates for that sort of 
employment, acLed solely upon that principle. 

On that system of aggrandizement there was but 
one mind : but two violent factions arose about the 
means. The first wished France, diverted from the 
politics of the Continent, to attend solely to her ma- 






LETTER n. 



865 



rine, to feed it by an increase of commerce, and 
thereby to overpower England on her own element. 
They contended, that, if England wore disabled, the 
powers on the Continent would fall into their proper 
subordination; that it was England which deranged 
the whole Continental system of Europe. Tlie oth- 
ers who were by far the more numerous, though not 
the' most outwardly prevalent at court, considered 
this plan for France as contrary to her genius, her 
situation, and her natural means. They agreed as 
to the ultimate object, the reduction of the British 
power, and, if possible, its naval power; but they 
considered an ascendancy on the Continent as a ne- 
cessary preliminary to that undertaking. TlieJ ar- 
Kued that the proceedings of England herself had 
proved the so. "dness of this policy: that her great- 
est and ablest statesmen had not considered the sup- 
port of a Continental balance against France as a 
deviation from the principle of her naval power, but 
as one of the most effectual modes of carrying it into 
effect; that such had been her policy ever since the 
Revolution, during which period the naval strength 
of Groat Britain had gone on increasing in the direct 
ratio of her interference in the politics of the Conti- 
nent. With much stronger reason ought the politics 
of France to take the same direction, — as well tor 
pursuing objects which her situation would ^' ^o 
her, though England had no existence, as a- 

teracting the politics of that nation : to Frau . i.on- 
tinental politics are primary ; they looked on them on- 
ly of secondary consideration to England, and, how- 
ever necessary, but as means necessary to an end. 

Wliat is truly astonishing, the partisans of those 
two opposite systems were at once prevalent, and at 





u 



m 
uj 



866 



LETTERS ON ▲ REOICIOE PEACE. 



H 



( 



n^ 



'\i 



ii> 



once employed, and in the verj same transactions, the 
one ostensibly, the other necrotly, during the latter 
part of the reign of Louis the Fifteenth. Nor was 
there one ourt in which an ambassador resided on 
the part of the ministers, in which another, as a spy 
on him, did not also reside on the part of the king : 
they who pursued the scheme for keeping peace on 
the Continent, and particularly with Austria, acting 
officially and publicly : the other faction counteract- 
ing and opposing them. These private agents were 
continually going from their function to the Bastile, 
and fi-om the Bastile to employment and favor again. 
An inextricable cabal was formed, some of persons of 
rank, others of subordinates. But by this means the 
corps of politicians was augmented in number, and 
the whole formed a body of active, adventuring, am- 
bitious, discontented people, despising the regular 
ministry, despising the courts at which thoy were em- 
ployed, despising the court which employed them. 
The unfortunate Louis the Sixteenth • was not the 

* It may be right to do justice to Loaia the Sixteenth. He did 
what he could to destroy the double diplomacy of France. He had 
•U the secret correspondence burnt, except one piece, which was culled 
Conjectures raitonn^ea sur la SitiuUion acUteUe de la France dant le Si/s- 
time Politique de ['Europe: a work executed by M. Favier, under the 
direction of Count Broglie. A sinj^le copy of this was said to have 
been found in the cabinet of Louis the Sixteenth. It was published 
with some subscauent state-papers of Vcrgenncs, Turgot, and others, 
as " a new benem. of the Revolution," and the advertisement to the 
publication ends with the following words : " // sera facile de se convain- 
ere, qu't compris mShe la RfevOLUTiox, en qrande partie, ov troctb 

DANS CE8 MbMOIRES ET CE8 CoSJECTITRBS IX OERHE DE TOtTT CK 
QUI ARRIVE aujourd'hui, ft qu'on ne peut, tans les avoir lus, itre bien 
au fait des inte'rtts, et mime des vues acluelles des diverges puissances de P 
Europe." The book is entitled Politique de tous les Cabinets de VEu- 
npe pendant les JRrgnes de Louis XV. et de Louis XVI. It is alto- 
gether very curious, and worth reading. 



LSTTEB H. 



867 



6r»t cause of the evil by which he suffered. He came 
to it, as to a sort of inheritance, by the false poUtics 
of his immediate predecossor. This system of dark 
and perplexed intrigue had come to its perfection be- 
fove he came to the throne ; and even then the Revo- 
lution strongly operated in all its causes. 

There was no point on which the discontented dip- 
lomatic politicians so bitterly arraigned theii cabi- 
net as for the decay of French influence in all others. 
From quarrelling with the court, they began to com- 
plain of monarchy itself, as a system of government 
too variable for any regular plan of national aggran- 
dizement. They observed that in that sort of regimen 
too much depended on the personal character jf the 
prince : that the vicissitudes produced by the succes- 
sion of princes of a different character, and even the 
vicissitudes produced in the same man, by the dif- 
ferent views and inclinations belonging to youth, 
manhood, and a^o, disturbed and distracted the pol- 
icy of a c-untry made by Nature for extensive em- 
pire, or, what was still more to their taste, for that 
sort of general overruling influence which prepared 
empire or supplied the place of it. They had con- 
tinually in their hands the observations of Machia- 
vel on Livy. They had Montesquieu's Grandeur it 
Dicadmce dea Romains as a manual ; and they com- 
pared, with mortification, the systematic proceedings 
of a Roman Senate with the fluctuations of a mon- 
archy. They observed the very small additions of 
territory which all the power of France, actuated by 
all the ambition of France, had acquired in two cen- 
turies. The Romans had frequently acquirod more 
in a single year. They severely and in every part 
of it criticized the reign of Louis the Fourteenth, 



MM 



368 



LETTKBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



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whose irregular and desultory ambition had more 
proToked than endangered Europe. Indeed, they 
who will be at the pains of seriously considering 
the history of that period will see that those French 
politicians had some reason. They who will not take 
the trouble of reviewing it through all its wars and 
all its negotiations will consult the short, but judi- 
cious, criticism of the Marquis de Montalembert on 
that subject. It may be read separately from his 
ingenious system of fortification and military do- 
fence, on the practical merit of which I am unable 
to form a judgment. 

The diplomatic politicians of whom I speak, and 
who formed by far the majority in that class, made 
disadvantageous comparisons even between their more 
legal and formalizing monarchy and the monarchies 
of other states, as a system of power and influence. 
They observed that France not only lost ground her- 
self, but, through the languor and unsteadiness of 
her pursuits, and from her aiming through commerce 
at naval force which she never could attain without 
losing more on one side than she could gain on 
the other, three great powers, each of them (as mili- 
tary states) capable of balancing her, had grown up 
on the Continent. Russia and Prussia had been 
created almost within memory ; and Austria, though 
not a new power, and even curtailed in territory, 
was, by the very collision in which she lost that terri- 
tory, greatly improved in her military discipline and 
force. During the reign of Maria Theresa, the in- 
terior economy of the country was made more to 
jrrespond with the support of great armies than for- 
merly it had been. As to Prussia, a merely military 
power, they observed that one war had enriched her 



■fita 






LETTEB n. 



369 



with as considerable a conquest as France had ac- 
quired in centuries. Russia had broken the Turkish 
power, by which Austria might be, as formerly she 
had been, balanced in favor of France. They felt 
it with pain, that the two Northern powers of Swe- 
den and Denmark were in general under the sway 
of Russia, — or that, at best, France kept up a very 
doubtful conflict, with many fluctuations of fortune, 
and at an enormous expense, in Sweden. In Hol- 
land the French party seemed, if not extinguished, 
at least utterly obscured, and kept under by a Stadt- 
holder, leaning for support sometimes on Great Brit- 
ain, sometimes on Prussia, sometimes on both, never 
on France. Even the spreading of the Bourbon fami- 
ly had become merely a family accommodation, and 
had little effect on the national politics. This alli- 
ance, they said, extinguished Spain by destroying 
all its energy, without adding anything to the real 
power of France in the accession of the forces of its 
great rival. In Italy the same family accommoda- 
tion, the same national insignificance, were equally 
visible. What cure for the radical weakness of the 
French monarchy, to which all the means which wit 
could devise, or Nature and fortune could bestow, 
towards universal empire, was not of force to give 
life or vigor or consistency, but in a republic ? Out 
the word came : and it never went back. 

Whether they reasoned right or wrong, or that 
there was some mixture of right and wrong in their 
reasoning, I am sure that in this manner they felt 
and reasoned. The different effects of a great mili- 
tary and ambitious republic and of a monarchy of 
the same description were constantly in their mouths. 
The principle was ready to operate, when opportuni- 



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370 



LETTEBS ON A BBGiClDE PEACE. 



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ties should ofiFer, which few of them, indeed, foresaw 
in the extent in which th-^y were afterwards present- 
ed ; but these opportunities, in some degree or other, 
they all ardently wished for. 

Wlien I was in Paris in 1773, the treaty of 175G 
between Austria and France was deplored as a na- 
tional calamity ; because it united France in friend- 
ship with a power at whose expense alone they could 
hope any Continental aggrandizement. When the 
first partition of Poland was made, in which France 
had no share, and which had farther aggrandized 
every one of the three powers of which they were 
most jealous, I found them in a perfect frenzy of 
rage and indignation: not that they were .lurt at 
the shocking and uncolored violence and injustice 
of that partition, but at the debility, improvidence, 
and want of activity in their government, in not 
preventing it as a means of aggrandizement to their 
rivals, or in not contriving, by exchanges of some 
kind or other, to obtain their share of advantage 
firom that robbery. 

In that or nearly in that state of things and of 
opinions came the Atistrian match, which promised 
to draw the knot, as afterwards in effect it did, still 
more closely between the old rival houses. This 
added exceedingly to their hatred and contempt of 
their monarchy. It was for this reason that the late 
glorious queen, who on all accounts was formed to 
produce general love and admiration, and whose life 
was as mild and beneficent as her death was beyond 
example great and heroic, became so very soon and 
80 very mucli the object of an implacable rancor, 
never to be extinguished but in her blood. When 
I wrote my letter in answer to M. de Menouville, in 



juGTTEB n. 



871 



the beginning of January, 1791, I had good reason 
for thinl'lng that this description of revolutionists did 
not so early nor so steadily point their murderous 
designs at the martyr king as at the royal heroine. 
It was accident, and the momentary depression of 
that part of the faction, that gave to the husband 
the happy priority in death. 

Prom this their restless desire of an overruUng 
influence, they bent a very great part of their de- 
signs and efforts to revive the old French party, 
which was a democratic party, in Holland, and to 
make a revolution there. They were happy at the 
troubles which the singular imprudence of Joseph 
the Second had stirred up in the Austrian Nether- 
lands. They rejoiced, when they saw him irritate 
his subjects, profess philosophy, send away the Dutch 
garrisons, and dismantle his fortifications. As to 
Holland, they never forgave either the king or the 
ministry for suffering that object, which they justly 
looked on as principal in their design of reducing 
the power of England, to escape out of their hands. 
This was the true secret of the commercial treaty, 
made, on their part, against all the old rules and 
principles of commerce, with a view of diverting the 
English nation, by a pursuit of immediate profit, 
from an attention to the progress of France in its de- 
signs upon that republic. The system of the econ- 
omists, which led to the general opening of com- 
merce, facilitated that treaty, but did not produce 
it. Tliey were in despair, when they found, that, 
by the vigor of Mr. Pitt, supported in this point by 
Mr. 1 X and the opposition, the object to which they 
had sao.'ficed their manufactures was lost to theu 
ambition. 



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LETTKBS ON A BEOICIDB PEACE. 



This eager desire of raising France from the con- 
dition into which she had fallen, as they conceived, 
from her monarchical imbecility, had been the main 
spring of their precedent interference in that unhap- 
py American quarrel, the bad effects of which to this 
nation have not as yet fully disclosed themselves. 
These sentiments had been long lurking in their 
breasts, though their views were only discovered 
now and then in heat and as by escapes, but on 
this occasion they exploded suddenly. They were 
professed with ostentation, and propagated with zeal. 
These sentiments were not produced, as some think, 
by their American alliance. The American alliance 
was produced by their republican principles and re- 
publican policy. This new relation undoubtedly did 
much. The discourses and cabals that it produced, 
the intercourse that it established, and, above all, the 
example, which made it seem practicable to establish 
a republic in a great extent of country, finished the 
work, and gave to that part of the revolutionary fac- 
tion a degree of strength which required other ener- 
gies than the late king possessed to resist or even to 
restrain. It spread everywhere ; but it was nowhere 
more prevalent than in the heart of the court. The 
palace of Versailles, by its language, seemed a forum 
of democracy. To have pointed out to most of those 
politicians, from their dispositions and movements, 
what has since happened, the fal* of their own mon- 
archy, of their own laws, of their own religion, would 
have been to furnish a motive the more for push- 
ing forward a system on which they considered all 
these things as incumbrances. Such in truth they 
were. And we have seen them succeed, not only 
in the destruction of their monarchy, but in all the 



^m 



LETTER n. 



87S 



objects of ambition that they proposed from that de- 
struction. 

When I contemplate the scheme on which France 
is formed, and when I compare it with these systems 
with which it is and ever must be in conflict, those 
things which seem as defects in her polity are the very 
thmgs which make me tremble. The states of tho 
Christian world have grown up to their present mag- 
nitude in a great length of time and by a great vari- 
ety of accidents. They have been improved to what 
we see them with greater or less degrees of felicity 
and skill. Not one of them has been formed upon 
a regular plan or with any unity of design. As their 
constitutions are not systematical, they have not been 
directed to any peculiar end, eminently distinguished, 
and superseding every other. The objects wli>h they 
embrace are of the greatest possible variety ' have 
become in a manner infinite. In all these coun- 
tries, the state has been made to the people, id not 
the people conformed to the state. Fvery state has 
pursued not only every sort of social advantage, but 
it has cultivated the welfare of every individual. 
His wants, his wishes, even his tastes, have been 
consulted. This comprehensive scheme virtually pro- 
duced a degree of personal liberty in forms the most 
adverse to it. That liberty was found, under mon- 
archies styled absolute, in a degree unknown to the 
ancient co wealths. From hence the powers of 

all our n states meet. v:\ all their movements, 

with some ..iruction. Ii therefore no wonder, 
that when these slates are to be conside:-ed as mar 
chines to operate for some one great end, that this 
dissipated and balanced force is not easily concen- 
tred, or made to bear with the whole force of the 
nation upon one point. 



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874 



LETTERS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 






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The British state is, without question, that which 
pursues the greatest variety of ends, and is the least 
disposed to sacrifice any one of them to another or 
to the whole. It dims at taking in the entire circle 
of human desires, and securing for them their fair 
enjoyment. Our legislature has been ever closely 
connected, in its most efficient part, with individual 
feeling and individual interest. Personal liberty, the 
most lively of these feelings and the most important 
of these interests, which in other European countries 
has rather arisen from the system of manners and 
the habitudes of life than from the laws of the state, 
(in which it flourished more from neglect than at- 
tention,) in England has been a direct object of 
government. 

On this principle, England would be the weakest 
power in the whole system. Fortunately, however, 
the great riches of this kingdom, arising from a va- 
riety of causes, and the disposition of the people, 
which is as great to spend as to accumulate, has 
easily afforded a disposable surplus that gives a 
mighty momentum to the state. This difficulty, 
with these advantages to overcome it, has called 
forth the talents of the English financiers, who, by 
the surplus of industry poured out by prodigality, 
have outdone everything which has been accom- 
plished in other nations. The present minister has 
outdone his predecessors, and, as a minister of reve- 
nue, is far above my power of praise. But still there 
are cases in which England feels more than several 
others (though they all feel) the perplexity of an 
immense body of balanced advantages and of indi- 
vidual demands, and of some irregularity in the 
whole mass. 



LGTTEB n. 



875 



Prance differs essentially from all those goi^ern- 
ments which are formed without system, which ex- 
ist by habit, and which are confused with the mul- 
titude and with the complexity of their pursuits. 
What now stands as government in France is struck 
out at a heat. The design is wicked, immoral, im- 
pious, oppressive: but it is spirited and daring; it 
is systematic; it is simple in its principle; it has 
unity and consistency in perfection. In that conn- 
try, entirely to cut off a branch of commerce, to ex- 
tiniuish a manufacture, to destroy the circulation of 
money, to violate credit, to suspend the course of 
agricxilture, even to burn a city or to lay waste a 
province of their own, does not cost them a mcv. 
Inent's anxiety. To them the will, the wish the 
want, the liberty, the toil, the blood of individuals, is 
as nothing. Individuality is left out of their scheme 
of government. The state is all in all. Everything 
is referred to the production of force; afterwards, 
everything is trusted to the use of it. It is military 
in its principle, in its maxims, in its spirit, and in 
all its movements. The state has dominion and con- 
quest for its sole objects, - dominion over mmds by 
proselytism, over bodies by arms. 

Thus constituted, with an immense body of natu- 
ral means, which are lessened in their amount only 
to be increased in their effect, France has since the 
accomplishment of the Revolution, a complete unity 
in its direction. It has destroyed every resource of 
the state which depends upon opinion and the good- 
will of individuals. The riches of convention disap- 
pear The advantages of Nature in some measure re- 
main ; even these, I admit, are astonishingly lessened ; 
the command over what remains is complete and ab- 



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876 



LETTEBS ON A BEQICIDE PEACE. 



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solute. We go about asking when assignats will ex- 
pire, and we laugh at the last price of them. But 
what signifies the fate of those tickets of despotism ? 
The despotism will find despotic means of supply. 
They have found the short cut to the productions 
of Nature, while others, in pursuit of them, are 
obliged to wind through the labyrinth of a very in- 
tricate state of society. Thuy seize upon the fruit 
of the labor; they seize upon the laborer himself. 
Were France but half of what it is in population, 
in compactness, in applicability of its force, situated 
as it is, and being what it is, it would be too strong 
for most of the states of Europe, constituted as they 
are, and proceeding as they proceed. Would it be 
wise to estimate what the world of Europe, as well 
as the world of Asia, had to dread from Genghiz 
Khun, upon a contemplation of the resources of the 
cold and barren spot in the remotest Tartary from 
whence first issued that scourge of the human race ? 
Ought we to judge from the excise and stamp duties 
of the rocks, or from the paper circulation of the 
sands of Arabia, the power by which Mahomet and 
his tribes laid hold at once on the two most pow- 
erful empires of the world, beat one of them totally 
to the ground, broke to pieces the other, and, in not 
much longer space of time than I have lived, over- 
turned governments, laws, manners, religion, and ex- 
tended an empire from the Indus to the Pyrenees ? 

Material resources never have supplied, nor ever 
can supply, the want of unity in design and con- 
stancy in pursuit. But unity in design and perse- 
verance and boldness m pursuit have never wanted 
resources, and never will. We have not considered 
as we ought the dreadful energy of a state in which 



It 



Aita 



UGTTEB n. 



877 



the property has nothing to do with the government. 
Reflect, my dear Sir, reflect again and again, on 
a government in which the property is in complete 
subjection, and where nothing rules but the mind of 
desperate men. The condition of a commonwealth 
not governed by its property was a combination of 
thmgs which the learned and ingenious speculator, 
Harrington, who has tossed about society into all 
forms, never c '.d imagine to be possible. We have 
seen it; the world has felt it; and if the world will 
shut their eyes to this state of things, they will feel it 
more. The rulers there have found their resources 
in crimes. The discovery is dreadful, the mine ex- 
hausdess. They have everything to gain, and they 
have nothing to :ose. They have a boundless inher- 
itance in hope, and there is no medium for them be- 
twixt the highest elevation and death with infamy. 
Never can they, who, from the miserable servitude of 
the desk, have been raised to empire, again submit 
to the bondage of a starving bureau, or the profit of 
copying music, or writing plaidoyera by the sheet. 
It has made me often smile in bitterness, when I 
have heard talk of an indemnity to such men, pro- 
vided they returned to their allegiance. 

From all this what is my inference ? It is, that 
this new system of robbery in France cannot be ren- 
dered safe by any art ; Ihat it must be destroyed, or 
that it will destroy all Europe ; that to destroy that 
enemy, by some means or other, the force opposed to 
it should be made to bear some analogy and resem- 
blance to the force and spirit which that system 
exerts ; that war ought to be made against it in its 
vulnerable parts. These are my inferences. In one 
word, with this republic nothing independent can 



■U 



878 



LETTEB8 ON ▲ BEOICIDE PEACE. 



coexist. The errors of Louis the Sixteenth were 
more pardonable to prudence than any of those of 
the same kind into which the allied courts may fall. 
They haTe the benefit of his dreadful example. 

The unhappy Louis the Sixteenth was a man of 
the best intentions that probably ever reigned. He 
was by no means deficient in talents. He had a 
most laudable desire to supply by general reading, 
and even by the acquisition of elemental knowledge, 
an education in all points originally defective; but 
nobody told him (and it was no wonder he should 
not himself divine it) that the world of which he 
read and the world in which he lived were no longer 
the same. Desirous of doing everything for the best, 
fearful of cabal, distrusting his own judgment, he 
sought his ministers of all kinds upon public testi- 
mony. But as courts are the field for caballers, 
the public is the theatre for mountebanks and im- 
postors. The cure for both those evils is in the 
discernment of the prince. But an accurate and 
penetrating discernment is what in a young prince 
could not be looked for. 

His conduct in its principle was not unwise ; but, 
like most other of his well-meant designs, it failed in 
his hands. It failed partly from mere ill fortune, to 
which speculators are rarely pleased to assign that 
very large share to which she is justly entitled in 
all human afiairs. The failure, perhaps, in part, was 
owing to his suffering his system to be vitiated and 
disturbed by those intrigues which it is, humanly 
speaking, impossible wholly to prevent in courts, or 
indeed under any form of government. However, 
with these aberrations, he gave himself over to a 
succession of the statesmen of public opinion. In 






i^te 



UBTTBR II. 



879 



other things ho thought that ha might bo a king on 
the terms of his predecessors. Ho was conscious of 
the purity of his heart and the general good tendency 
of his government. He flattered himself, as most 
men in his situation will, that ho miglit consult his 
ease without danger to his safety. It is not at all 
wonderful that both he and his ministers, gmng way 
abundantly in other respects to innovation, should 
take up in policy with the tradition of their monar- 
chy. Under his ancestors, the monarchy had sub- 
sisted, and even been strengthened, by the generation 
or support of republics. First, the Swiss republics 
grew under the guardianship of the French monar- 
chy. The Dutch republics were hatched and cher- 
ished under the same incubation. Afterwards, a 
republican constitution w-s, under the influence of 
France, established in the Empire, against the pre- 
tensions of its chief. Even whilst the monarcliy of 
Franco, by a series of wars and negotiations, and 
lastly by the Treaties of Westphalia, had obtained 
the establishment of the Protestants in Germany as a 
law of the Empire, the same monarchy under Louis 
the Thirteenth had force enough to destroy tlie re- 
pubUcan system of the Protestants at home. 

Louis the Sixteenth was a diligent reader of his- 
tory. But the very lamp of prudence blinded him. 
The guide of human life led him astray. A silent 
revolution in the moral world preceded the political, 
and prepared it. It became of more importance than 
ever what exar \,s were given, and what measures 
were adopted. Their causes no longer lurked in the 
recesses of cabinets or in the private conspiracies of 
the factious. They were no longer to bo controlled 
by the force and influence of the grandees, who for- 



i 



880 



LETTEBS ON ▲ BBOICIDE PEACE. 



I> 



.^ 



[) 



It, 



merly liad been able to stir up troubles by their dis- 
oontents and to quiet them by their corruption. The 
chain of subordination, even in cabal and sedition, 
was broken in its most important links. It was 
no longer the great and the populace. Other inter- 
ests were formed, other dependencies, other connec- 
tions, other communications. The middle classes had 
swelled far beyond their former proportion. Like 
whatever is the most effectively rich and great in so- 
ciety, these classes became the seat of all the active 
politics, and the preponderating weight to docid'^ ^n 
them. There were all the energies by which fortune 
is acquired ; there the consequence of their success. 
There were all the talents which assert their preten- 
sions, and are impatient of the place which settled so- 
ciety prescribes to them. These descriptions had got 
"1 the great and the populace ; and the iiiflu- 
'he lower classes was with them. The spirit 
o. ' had taken possession of this class as vio- 

lently tto over it had done of any other. They felt 
the importance of this situation. The correspondence 
of the moneyed and the mercantile world, the liter- 
ary intercourse of academies, but above all, the press, 
of which they had in a manner entire possession, 
made a kind of electric communication everywhere. 
The press, in reality, has made every government, in 
its spirit, almost democratic. Without the great, the 
first movements in this revolution could not, perhaps, 
have been given. But the spirit of ambition, now 
for the first time connected with the spirit of specu- 
lation, was not to be restrained at will. There was 
no longer any means of arresting a principle in its 
course. When Louis the Sixteenth, under the in- 
fluence of the enemies to monarchy, meant to found 






LBTTER n. 



881 



but one republic, he set up two ; whe*^ e meant to 
take away half the crown of his neigl. •', he lost the 
whole of his own. Louis the Sixteenth could not 
with impunity countenance a new republic. Yet be- 
tween his tlirone and that dangerous lodgment for 
an enemy, which he had erected, ho had the whole 
Atlantic for a ditch. He had for an outwork the 
English nation itself, friendly to liberty, adverse to 
that mode of it. He was surrounded by a rampart 
of monarchies, most of them allied to him, and gen- 
erally under his influence. Yet even thus secured, 
a republic erected under his auspices, ind dependent 
on his power, became fatal to his tluouo. Tlie very 
money which he had lent to support this republic, by 
a good faith which to him operated as perfidy, was 
punctually paid to his enemies, and became a re- 
source in the hands of his assassins. 

With this example before their eyes, do any min- 
isters in England, do any ministers in Austria, really 
flatter themselves that they can erect, not on the re- 
mote shores of tlic Atlantic, but in their view, in 
their vicinity, in absolute contact with one of them, 
not a commercial, but a martial republic, — a repub- 
lic not of simple husbandmen or fishermen, but of 
intriguers, and of warriors, — a republic of a charac- 
ter the most restless, the most enterprising, the most 
impious, the most fierce and bloody, the most hypo- 
critical and perfidious, the most bold and daring, 
that ever has been seen, or indeed that can be con- 
ceived to exist, without bringing on their own cer- 
tain ruin? 

Such is the republic to which we are going to give 
a place in civilized fellowship, — the republic which, 
with joint consent, we are going to establish in the 



882 



LiETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



r 



centre of Europe, in a post that overlooks and com- 
mands every other state, and which eminently con- 
fronts and menaces this kingdom. 

You cannot fail to observe that I speak as if the 
allied powers were actually consenting, and not com- 
pelled by events, to the establishment of this faction 
in France. The words have not escaped me. You 
will hereafter naturally expect that I should make 
them good. But whether in adopting this measure 
wc are madly active or weakly passive or pusillani- 
mously panic-struck, the effects will be the same. 
You may call this faction, which has eradicated the 
monarchy, expelled the proprietary, persecuted relig- 
ion, and trampled upon law,* — you may call this 
France, if you please ; but of the ancient France noth- 
ing remains but its central geography, its iron fron- 
tier, its spirit of ambition, its audacity of enterprise, 
its perplexing intrigue. These, and these alone, re- 
main : and they remain heightened in their principle 
and augmented in their means. All the former cor- 
rectives, whether of virtue or of weakness, which 
existed in the old monarchy, are gone. No single 
new corrective is to be found in the whole body 
of the new institutions. How should such a thing 
be found there, when everything has been chosen 
with care and selection to forward all those ambi- 
tious designs and dispositions, not to control them ? 
The whole is a body of ways and means for the 
supply of dominion, without one heterogeneous par- 
ticle in it. 

Here I suffer you to breathe, and leave to your 
meditation what has occurred to me on the geniiis 
and character of the French Revolution. From hav- 

* See our Declaration. 



■a^ 



LETTER 11. 



383 



ing this before us, we may be better able to deter- 
mine on the first question I proposed, — tliat is. How 
far nations called foreign are likely to be afiected 
with the system established within that territory. I 
intended to proceed next on the question of her facil- 
ities, ^om the internal state of other nations, and par- 
ticularly of this, for obtaining her ends ; but I ought 
to be aware that my notions are controverted. I 
mean, therefore, in my next letter, to take notice 
of what in that way has been recommended to me 
as the most deserving of notice. In the examination 
of those pieces, I shall have occasion to discuss some 
others of the topics to which I have called your atten 
tion. You know that the letters which I now send 
to the press, as well as a part of what is to follow, 
have been in their substance long since written. A 
circumstance which your partiality alone could make 
of importance to you, but which to the public is 
of no importance at all, retarded their appearance. 
The late events which press upon us obliged me to 
make some additions, but no substantial change in 
the matter. 

This discussion, my friend, will be long. But the 
matter is serious ; and if ever the fate of the world 
could be truly said to depend on a particular meas- 
ure, it is upon this peace. For the present, fare- 
well. 



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LETTER III. 



; H 



ON THE RUPTURE O^' THE NEGOTIATION; THE TERMS 
OF PEACE PR*^ '•t..ED; AN' THE RESOURCES OF 
THE COUNTRY ioR THE CONTINUANCE OF THE 
WAR. 



<! 



DEAR SIR, — I thank you for the bundle of state- 
papors which I received yesterday. I have trav- 
elled through the negotiation, — and a sad, founder- 
ous road it is. There is a sort of standing jest against 
my countrymen, — that one of them on his journey 
having found a piece of pleasant road, he proposed 
to his companion to go over it again. This propo- 
sal, with regard to the worthy traveller's final desti- 
nation, was certainly a blunder. It was no blunder 
as to his immediate satisfaction ; for the way was 
pleasant. In the irksome journey of the Regicide 
negotiations it is otherwise : our " paths are not 
paths of pleasantness, nor our ways the ways to 
peace." AH our mistakes, (if such they are,) like 
those of our Hibernian traveller, are mistakes of rep- 
etition ; and they will be full as far from bringing 
us to our place of rest as his well-considered project 
was from forwarding him to his inn. Yet I see we 
persevere. Fatigued with our former course, too 
listless to explore a new one, kept in action by inert- 
ness, moving only because we have been in motion, 
with a sort of plodding perseverance we resolve to 
measure back again the very same joyless, hopeless, 



iJih, 



LETTEB ra. 



385 



and inglorious track. Backward and forward, — os- 
cillation, not progression, — much going in a scanty 
space, — the travels of a postilion, miles enough to 
circle the globe in one short stage, — we have been, 
and we are yet to be, jolted and rattled over the 
loose, misplaced stones and the treacherous hollows 
of this rough, ill-kept, broken-up, treacherous French 
causeway ! 

The Declaration w^'""- brings up the rear of the 
papers laid before i ^nt contains a review and 

a reasoned summary our attempts and all our 

failures, — a concise, but correct narrative of the 
painful steps taken to bring on the essay of a treaty 
at Paris, — a clear exposure of all the rebuffs we re- 
ceived in the progress of that experiment, — an hon- 
est confession of our departure from all the rules and 
all the principles of political negotiation, and of com- 
mon prudence in the conduct of it, — and to crown 
the whole, a fair account of the atrocious manner in 
which the Eegicide enemies had broken up what had 
been so inauspiciously begun and so feebly carried 
on, by finally, and with all scorn, driving our suppli- 
ant ambassador out of the limits of their usurpation. 

Even after all that I have lately seen, I was a lit- 
tle surprised at this exposure. A minute display of 
hopes formed without foundation and of labors pur- 
sued without fruit is a thing not very flattering to 
self-estimation. But truth has its rights, and it will 
assert them. The Declaraii^ri, after doing all this 
with a mortifying candor, concludes the whole reca- 
pitulation with an engagement still more extraordi- 
nary than all the unusual matter it contains. It 
says that " His Majesty, who had entered into the 
negotiation with goo(? faith., who had suffered no im- 



VOL. T. 



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LETTERS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE, 



pediment to prevent his prosecuting it with eamestr 
ness and sincerity, has now only to lament its abnipt 
termination, and to renew in the face of all Europe 
the solemn declaration, that, whenever his enemies 
shall be disposed to enter on the work of general paci- 
fication in a spirit of conciliation and equity, nothing 
shall be wanting on his part to contribute to the ac- 
complishment of that great object." 

If the disgusting detail of the accumulated insults 
we have received, in what wo have very properly 
called our " solicitation " to a gang of felons and 
murderers, had been produced as a proof of the utter 
inefficacy of that mode of proceeding with that descrip- 
tion of persons, I should have nothing at all to object 
to it. It might furnish matter conclusive in argu- 
ment and instructive in policy ; but, with all due sub- 
mission to high authority, and with all decent defer- 
ence to superior lights, it does not seem quite clear to 
a discernment no better than mine that the premises 
in that piece conduct irresistibly to the conclusion. 
A labored display of the ill consequences which have 
attended an uniform course of submission to every 
mode of contumelious insult, with which the despot- 
ism of a proud, capricious, insulting, and implacable 
foe has chosen to buffet our patience, does not appear 
to my poor thoughts to be properly brought forth as 
a preliminary to justify a resolution of persevering in 
the very same kind of conduct, towards the very same 
sort of person, and on the very same principles. "We 
state our experience, and then we come to the manly 
resolution of acting in contradiction to it. All that 
has passed at Paris, to the moment of our being 
shamefully hissed off that stage, has been nothing 
but a more solemn representation on the theatre of 



LETTEB m. 



387 



the nation of what had been before in rehearsal at 
Basle. As it is not only confessed by us, but made 
a matter of charge on the enemy, that he had given 
us no encouragement to believe there was a change in 
his disposition or in his policy at any time subsequent 
to the period of his rejecting our first overtures, there 
seems to have been no assignable motive for sendnig 
Lord Malmesbury to Paris, except to expose his hum- 
bled country to the worst indignities, and the first cf 
the kind, as the Declaration very truly ob-erves, that 
have been known in the world of negotiation. 

An honest neighbor of mine is not altogether un 
happy in the application of an old common story to a 
present occasion. It may be said of my friend, what 
Horace says of a neighbor of his, " Garrit amies ex re 
fdbellas." Conversing on this strange subject, he told 
me a current story of a simple English country squire, 
who was persuaded by certain dilettanti of his ac- 
quaintance to see the world, and to become knowing 
in men and manners. Among other celebrated places, 
it was recommended to him to visit Constantinople. 
He took their advice. After various adventures, not 
to our purpose to dwell upon, he happily arrived 
at that famous city. As soon as he had a little 
reposed himself from his fatigue, he took a walk 
into the streets; but he had not gone far, before 
" a malignant and a turbaned Turk " had his clioler 
roused by the carelnss and assured air with which 
this infidel strutted al'out in the metropolis of true 
believers. In this temper he lost no time in doing 
to our traveller the honors of the place. Tlie Turk 
crossed over the way, and with perfect good-will gave 
him two or three lusty kicks oa the seat of honor. 
To resent or to return the compliment in Turkey was 



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LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



quite out of the question. Our traveller, since he 
could not otherwise acknowledge this kind of favor, 
received it with the best grace in the world: he 
made one of his most ceremonious bows, and begged 
the kicking Mussulman " to accept his perfect assur- 
ances of high consideration." Our countryman was 
too wise to imitate Othello in the use of the dagger. 
Ho thought it better, as better it was, to assuage his 
bruised dignity with half a yard square of balmy dip- 
lomatic diachylon. Tn the disasters of their friends, 
people are seldom wanting in a laudable patience. 
When they are such as do not threaten to end fatally, 
they become even matter of pleasantry. The English 
fellow-travellers of our sufferer, finding him a little 
out of spirits, entreated him not to take so slight a 
business so very seriously. They told him it was the 
custom of the country; that every country had its 
customs; that the Turkish manners were a little 
rough, but that in the main the Turks were a good- 
natured people ; that what would have been a deadly 
affront anywhere else was only a little freedom there : 
in short, they told him to think no more of the mat- 
ter, and to try his fortune in another promenade. 
But the squire, though a little clownish, had some 
home-bred sense. " What ! have I come, at all this 
expense and trouble, all the way to Constantinople 
only to be kicked ? Without going beyond my own 
stable, my groom, for half a crown, would have kicked 
me to my heart's content. I don't mean to stay in 
Constantinople eight-and-forty hours, nor ever to re- 
turn to this rough, good-natured people, that have 
their own customs." 

In my opinion the squire was in the right. He was 
satisfied with his first ramble and his first injuries. 



LETTER in. 

But reason of state and common sense are two things. 
If it were not for this difference, it might not appear 
of absolute necessity, after having received a certain 
quantity of buffetings by advance, that we should 
send a peer of the realm to the scum of the earth to 
collect the debt to the last farthing, and to receive, 
with infinite aggravation, the same scorns which had 
been paid to our supplication through a commoner : 
but it was proper, I suppose, that the whole of our 
country, in all its orders, should have a share of the 
indignity, and, as in reason, tliat the higher orders 
should touch the larger proportion. 

This business was not ended because our dignity 
was wounded, or because our patience was worn out 
with contumely and scorn. We had not disgorged 
one particle of the nauseous doses with which we 
were so liberally crammed by the mountebanks of 
Paris in order to drug and diet us into perfect tame- 
ness. No, — we waited till the morbid strength of 
our houlimia for their physic had exhausted the well- 
stored dispensary of their empiricism. It is impos- 
sible to guess at the term to which our forbearance 
would have extended. The Regicides were more 
fatigued with giving blows than the callous cheek of 
British diplomacy was hurt in receiving them. They 
had no way left for getting rid of this mendicant 
perseverance, but by sending for the beadle, and for- 
cibly dr^.ing our embassy " of shreds and patches," 
with all its mumping cant, from the inhospitable door 
of Cannibal Castle, — 

<• Where the gaunt mastiff, growling at the gate. 
Affrights the beggar whom he longs to eat." 

I think we might have found, before the rude hand 
of insolent office was on our shoulder, and the staff 




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LEITEBS ON A BEGICIDE PEaCS. 



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of usurped authority brandished over our heads, that 
contempt of the suppliant is uot the best forwarder of 
a suit, — that national disgrace is not the high-road to 
security, much less to power and greatness. Patience, 
indeed, strongly indicates tlie love of peace ; but mere 
love does not always lead to enjoyment. It is the 
power of winning that palm which insures our wear- 
ing it. Virtues have their place ; and ou* of their 
place they hardly deserve the name, — they pass into 
the neighboring vice. The patience of fortitude and 
the endurance of pusillanimity are things very differ- 
ent, as in their principle, so in their effects. 

In truth, this Declaration, containing a narrative 
of the first transaction of the kind (and I hope it will 
be the last) in the intercourse of nations, as a com- 
position, is ably drawn. It does credit to our official 
style. The report of the speech of the m.aister in a 
great assembly, which I have read, is a comment up- 
on the Declaration. Without inquiry how far that 
report is exact, (inferior T believe it may be to what 
it would represent,) yet still it reads as a most elo- 
quent and finished performance. Hardly one galling 
circumstance of the indignities offered by the Direc- 
tory of Regicide to the supplications made to that 
junto in his Majesty's name has been spared. Every 
one of the aggravations attendant on these acts of 
outrage is, with wonderful perspicuity and order, 
brought forward in its place, and in the manner most 
fitted to produce its effect. They are turned to every 
pomt of view in lich they can be seen to the best 
advantage. All the parts are so arranged as to point 
out their relation, and to furnish a true idea of the 
spirit of the whole transaction. 

This speech may stand for a model. Never, for 



LETTEB m. 



891 



the triumphal decoration of any theatre, not for the 
decoration of those of Athens and Rome, or even of 
this theatre of Paris, from the embroideries of Baby- 
Ion or from the loom of the Gobelins, has there been 
sent any historic tissue so truly drawn, so closely and 
so finely wrought, or in which the forms are brought 
out in the rich purple of such glovfing and blushmg 
colors. It puts me in mind of the piece of tapestry 
with which Virgil proposed to adorn the theatre he 
was to erect to Augustus upon the banks of the Min- 
cio, who now hides his head in his reeds, and leads 
his slow and melancholy windings through banks 
wasted by the barbarians of Gaul. He supposes that 
the artifice is such, that he figures of the conquered 
nations in his tapestry are made to play their part, 
and are confounded in the machine, — 

utque 
Purpurea intexti toUant anlsea Britanni ; 

or as Dryden translates it, somewhat paraphrastical- 
ly,' but not less in the spirit of the prophet than of 
the poet, — 

" Where the proud theatres disclose the scene, 
Which interwoven Britons seem to raise, 
And show the triumph which their shame displays." 
It is something wonderful, that the sagacity shown 
in the Declaration and the speech (and, so far as it 
goes, greater was never shown) should have failed to 
discover to the writer and to the speaker the insepa- 
rable relation between the parties to this transaction, 
and that nothing can be said to display the imperious 
arrogance of a base enemy which does not describe 
with equal force and equal truth the contemptible fig- 
ure of an abject embassy to^that imperious power. 
It is no less striking, that the same obvious re- 



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LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



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flection should not occur to those gentlemen who 
conducted the opposition to government. But their 
thoughts were turned another way. They seem to 
have been so entirely occupied with the defence of 
the French Directory, so very eager in finding recrim- 
inatory preced. ^ to justify every act of its intoler- 
able insolei.ce, animated in their accusations of 
ministry for not having at the very outset made 
concessions proportioned to the dignity of the great 
victorious power we had offended, that everything 
concerning the sacrifice in this business of national 
honor, and of the most fundamental principles in the 
policy of negotiation, seemed wholly to have escaped 
them. To this fatal hour, the contention in Parlia- 
ment appeared in another fr-rm, and was animated by 
another spirit. For three hundred years and more, 
we have had wars with what stood as government in 
France. In all that period, the language of ministers, 
whether of boast or of apology, was, that they had left 
nothing undone for the assertion of the national hon- 
or, — the opposition, whether patriotically or factious- 
ly, contending that the ministers had been oblivious of 
the national glory, and had made improper sacrifices 
of that public interest which they were bound not 
only to preserve, but by all fair methods to augment. 
This total change of tone on both sides of your House 
forms itself no inconsiderable revolution ; and I am 
afraid it prognosticates others of still greater impor- 
tance. The ministers exhausted the stores of their 
eloquence in demonstrating that f:hey had quitted the 
safe, beaten highway of treaty between independent 
powers, — that, to pacify the enemy, they had made 
every sacrifice of the national dignity, — and that 
they had offered to immolate at the same shrine the 



LETTEn III. 



893 



most valuable of the national acquisitions. Tlie op- 
position insisted that the victims wore not fat nor fair 
enough to be offered on tlie altars of blasphemed Regi- 
cide ; and it was inferred from thenco, that the sac- 
rifical ministers, (who were a sort of intruders in the 
worship of the new divinity,) in their schisraatical 
devotion, had dis.overed more of hypocrisy thn.i zeal. 
They charged them with a concealed resolution to 
persevere in what these gentlemen have (in perfect 
consistency, indeed, with themselves, but most irrec- 
oncilably with fact and reason) called an unjust and 
impolitic war. 

That day was, I fear, the fatal term of Iceal patriot- 
On tliat day, I fear, there was an end of that 



ism. 



r.arrow scheme of relations called our couniry, with 
all its pride, its prejudicos, and its partial affections. 
All the little quiet rivulets, that watered an humble, 
a contracted, but not an unfruitful field, are to be 
lost in the waste expanse, and boundless, barren 
ocean of the homicide philanthropy of France. It is 
no longer an object of tf i • r, the aggrandizement of 
a new power which teaches as a professor that phi- 
lanthropy in the chair, whilst it propagates by a»ms 
and establishes by conquest the '•omprehensive sys- 
tem of universal fraternity. In what light is all this 
viewed in a great assembly ? The party which takes 
the lead there has no longer any apprehensions, ex- 
cept those that arise from not being admitted to the 
closest and most confidential connections with the 
metropolis of that fraternity. That reigning party 
no longer touches on its favorite subject, the display 
of those horrors that must attend the existence of a 
power with such dispositions and principles, seated in 
the heart of Europe. It is satisfied to find some loose, 



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LXTTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



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ambiguous expressions iu its former declarations, 
which may set it free from its professions and engage- 
ments. It always speaks of peace with the Regicides 
as a great and an undoubted blessing, and such a 
blessing as, if obtained, promises, as much as any 
human disposition of things can promise, security and 
permanence. It holds out nothing at all definite to- 
wards this security. It only seeks, by a restoration 
to some of their former owners of some fragments of 
the general wreck of Europe, to find a plausible plea 
for a present retreat from an embarrassing position. 
As to the future, that party is content to leave it cov- 
ered in a night of the most palpable obscurity. It 
never once has entered into a particle of detail of 
what our own situation, or that of other powers, 
must be, under the blessings of the peace we seek. 
This defect, to my power, I mean to supply, — that, 
if any persons should still continue to think an at- 
tempt at foresight is any part of the duty of a states- 
man, I may contribute my trifle to the materials of 
his speculation. 

As to the other party, the minority of to-day, possi- 
bly the majority of to-morrow, small in number, but 
fiiU of talents and every species of energy, wliich, 
upon the avowed ground of being more acceptable to 
Prance, is a candidate for the helm of this kingdom, 
it has never changed from the beginning. It has 
preserved a perennial consistency. This would be a 
never failing source of true glory, if springing from 
just and right ; but it is truly dreadful, if it be an 
arm of Styx, which springs out of the profoundest 
depths of a poisoned soil. The French maxims were 
by these gentlemen at no time condemned. I speak 
of their language in the most moderate terms. There 



URTEB III. 



895 



aro many who think that the- gone much fur- 

ther, — that they havo "'■ lys i: ^siiified and extolled 
the French maxims, — f.i.a, not iu the least disgusted 
or discouraged by the monstrous evils whicli havo 
attended these maxims from the moment of their 
adoption bt.th at home and abroad, they still con- 
tuiuo to predict that in due time they must produce 
the greatest good to the poor human race. They 
obstinately persist in stating those evils as matter of 
accident, as things wholly collateral to the system. 

It is observed, that this pasty has never spoken of 
an ally of Great Britain with the smallest degree of 
respect or regard: on the contrary, it has generally 
mentioned them under opprobrious appellations, and 
in such terms of contempt or execration as never had 
been heard before,— because no such would have for- 
merly been permitted in our public assemblies. The 
moment, however, that any of those allies quitted 
tills obnoxious connection, the party has instantly 
passed an act of indemnity and oblivion in their 
favor. After this, no sort of censure on their con- 
duct, no imputation on their character. From Uiat 
moment their pardon was sealed in a reverential and 
mysterious silence. With the gentlemen of this mi- 
nority, there is no ally, from one end of Europe to the 
other, with whom we ought not to be ashamed to act. 
The whole college of the states of Europe is no better 
than a gang of tyrants. With them all our connec- 
tions were broken off at once. We ought to have 
cultivated France, and France alone, from the mo- 
ment of her Revolution. On that happy change, all 
our dread of that nation as a power was to cease. 
She became in an instant dear to our affections and 
one with our interests. AU other nations we ought 



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LETTEBS ON A BE6ICIDE PEACE. 



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to have commanded not to trouble her sacred throes, 
whilst in labor to bring into an happy birth her abun- 
dant litter of constitutions. We ought to have acted 
under her auspices, in extending her salutary influ- 
ence upon every side. From that moment England 
and France were become natural allies, and all the 
other states natural eneuiies. The whole face of the 
world was changed. What was it to us, if she ac- 
quired Holland and the Austrian Netherlands ? By 
her conquests she only enlarged the sphere of her 
beneficence, she only extended the blessings of lib- 
erty to so many more foolishly reluctant nations. 
What was it to Ergland, if, by adding these, among 
the richest and most peopled countries of the world, 
to her territories, she thereby left no possible link of 
communication between us and any other power with 
whom we could act against her? On this new system 
of optimism, it is so much the better : so much the 
further are we removed from the contact with infec- 
tious despotism. No longer a thought of a barrier 
in the Netherlands to Holland against France. All 
that is obsolete policy. It is fit that France should 
have both Holland and the Austrian Netherlands too, 
as a barrier to her against the attacks of despotism. 
She cannot multiply her securities too much ; and as 
to our security, it is to be found in hers. Had we 
cherished her from the beginning, and felt for her 
when attacked, she, poor, good soul, would never 
have invaded any foreign nation, never murdered 
her sovereign and his family, never proscribed, never 
exiled, never imprisoned, never been guilty of extra- 
judicial massacre or of legal murder. All would 
have been a golden age, full of peace, order, and 
liberty, — and philosophy, raying out from Europe, 



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LETTER III. 



S97 



would have warmed and enlightened the universe; 
but, unluckily, irritable philosophy, the most irrita- 
ble of all things, was put into a passion, and pro- 
voked into ambition abroad and tyranny at home. 
They find all this very natural and very justifiable. 
They choose to forget that other nations, struggling 
for freedom, have been attacked by their neighbors, 
or that their neighbors have otherwise interfered m 
their affairs. Often have neighbors interfered in fa- 
vor of princes against theur rebellious subjects, and 
often in favor of subjects against their prince. Such 
cases fill half the pages of history; yet never were 
they used as an apology, much less as a justification, 
for atrocious cruelty in princes, or for general mas- 
sacre and confiscation on the part of revolted sub- 
jects,— never as a politic cause for suffering any 
such powers to aggrandize themselves without limit 
and without measure. A thousand times have we 
seen it asserted in public prints and pamphlets, that, 
if the nobility and priesthood of France had stayed 
at home, their property never would have been con- 
fiscated. One would think that none of the clergy 
had been robbed previous to their deportation, or 
that their deportatiou had, on their part, been a vol- 
untary act. One would think that the nobility and 
gentry, and merchants and bankers, who stayed at 
home, had enjoyed their property in security and 
repose. The assertors of these positions well know 
that the lot of thousands who remained at home was 
far more terrible, that the most cruel imprisonment 
was only a harbinger of a cruel and ignommious 
death, and that in this mother country of freedom 
there were no less than three hundred thousand at 
one time in prison. I go no further. I instance 



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LETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



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only these representations of the party, as staring 
indications of partiality to that sect to whose domin- 
ion they would have left this country nothing to op- 
pose but her own naked force, and consequently sub- 
jected us, on every reverse of fortune, to the immi- 
nent danger of falling under those very evils, in that 
very system, which are attributed, not to its own 
nature, but to the pe^-erseness of others. There is 
nothing in the world so difficult as to put men in 
a state of judicial neutrality. A leaning there must 
ever be, and it is of the first importance to any na- 
tion to observe to what side that leaning inclines,— 
whether to our own community, or to one with which 
it is in a state of hostility. 

Men are rarely without some sympathy in the 
sufiferings of others ; but in the immense and diver- 
sified mass of human misery, which may be pitied, 
but cannot be relieved, in the gross, the mind must 
make a choice. Our sympathy is always more for- 
cibly attracted towards the misfortunes of certain 
persons, and in certain descriptions: and this sym- 
pathetic attraction discovers, beyond a possibility of 
mistake, our mental affinities and elective affections. 
It is a much surer proof than the strongest declara- 
tion of a real connection and of an overruling bias 
in the mind. I am told that the active sympathies 
of this party have been chiefly, if not wholly, at- 
tracted to the sufferings of the patriarchal rebels 
who were amongst the promulgators of the maxims 
of the French Revolution, and who have suffered 
from their apt and forward scholars some part of 
the evils which they had themselves so liberally dis- 
tribiited to all the other parts of the community. 
Some of these men, flying from the knives which 



LETTER in. 



899 



they had sharpened against their country and its 
laws, rebelling against the very powers they had set 
over themselves by their rebellion against their sov- 
ereign, given up by those very armies to whose faith- 
ful attachment they trusted for their safety and 
support, after they had completely debauched all 
military fidelity in its source, — some of these men, 
I say, had fallen into the hands of the head of that 
family the most illustrious person of which they 
had three times cruelly imprisoned, and delivered in 
that state of captivity to those hands from which 
they were able to relieve neither her, nor their own 
nearest and most venerable kindred. One of these 
men, connected with this country by no circumstance 
of birth, — not related to any distinguif'hed famihes 
here, — recommended by no service, — endeared to 
th'^ nation by no act or even expression of kind- 
■ —comprehended in no league or common 
— embraced by no laws of public hospital- 
er 2 this man was the only one to be found in 
Europe, in whose favor the British nation, passing 
judgment without hearing on its almost only ally, 
was to force (and that not by soothing interposition, 
but with every reproach for inhumanity, cruelty, and 
breach of the laws of war) from prison. We were to 
release him from that prison out of which, in abuse 
of the lenity of government amidst its rigor, and in 
violation of at least an understood parole, he had 
attempted an escape, — an escape excusable, if you 
will, but naturally productive of strict and vigilant 
confinement. The earnestness of gentlemen to free 
this person was the more extraordinary because there 
was full as little in him to raise admiration, from 
any eminent qualities he possessed, as there was to 



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LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



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excite an interest, from any that were amiable. A 
person not only of no real civil or literary talents, 
but of no specious appearance of either, — ana in 
his military profession not marked as a leader in 
any one act of able or successful enterprise, unless 
his leading on (or his following) the allied army of 
Amazonian and male cannibal Parisians to Versailles, 
on the famous 6th of October, 1789, is to make his 
glory. Any other exploit of his, as a general, I 
never heard of. But the triumph of general frater- 
nity was but the more signalized by the total want 
of particular claims in that case, — and by postponing 
all such claims in a case where they really existed, 
where they stood embossed, and in a manner forced 
themselves on the view of common, shortsighted be- 
nevolence. Whilst, for its improvement, the human- 
ity of these gentlemen was thus on its travels, and 
had got as far off as Olmiitz, they never thought of 
a place and a person much nearer to them, or of 
moving an instruction to Lord Malmesbury in fa- 
vor of their own suffering countryman, Sir Sydney 
Smith. 

This officer, having attempted, with great gallan- 
try, to cut out a vessel from one of the enemy's har- 
bors, was taken after an obstinate resistance, — such 
as obtained him the marked respect of those who 
were witnesses of his valor, and knew the circum- 
stances in which it was displayed. Upon his arri- 
val at Paris, he was instantly thrown into prison, 
where the nature of his situation will best be un- 
derstood by knowing that amongst its mitigations 
was the permission to walk occasionally in the court 
and to enjoy the privilege of shaving himself. On 
the old system of feelings and principles, his suffer- 



LETTER in. 



401 



ings might have been entitled to consideration, and, 
even in a comparison with those of Citizen La Fay- 
ette, to a priority in the order of compassion. If 
the ministers had neglected to take any steps in his 
favor, a declaration of the sense of the House of 
Commons would have stimulated them to their duty. 
If they had caused a representation to be made, such 
a proceeding would have added force to it. If re- 
prisal should be thought advisable, the address of 
the House would have given an additional sanction 
to a measure which would have been, indeed, justifi- 
able without any other sanction than its . wn reason. 
But no. Nothing at all like it. In fact, the merit of 
Sir Sydney Smith, and his claim on British compas- 
sion, was of a kind altogether different from that which 
interested so deeply the authors of the motion in fa- 
vor of Citizen La Payette. In my humble opinion, 
Captain Sir Sydney Smith has another sort of merit 
with the British nation, and something of a higher 
claim on British humanity, than Citizen La Fayette. 
Faithful, zealous, and ardent in the service of his king 
and country, — full of spirit, — full of resources, — 
going out of the beaten road, but goin^i^ right, because 
his uncommon enterprise was not conducted by a vul- 
gar judgment, — in his profession Sir Sydney Smith 
might be considered as a distinguished person, if any 
person could well be distinguished in a service in 
which scarce a commander can be named without 
putting you in mind of some action of intrepidity, 
sRill, and vigilance that has given them a fair title to 
contend with any men and in any age. But I will say 
nothing farther of the merits of Sir Sydney Smith : 
the mortal animosity of the Regicide enemy super- 
sedes all other panegyric. Their hatred is a judgment 






mi- 

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VOL. V. 



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LETTERS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



/ 






111 



^1 



in his favor without appeal. At present he is lodged 
in the tower of the Temple, the last prison of Louis 
the Sixteenth, and the last but one of Marie Antoi- 
nette of Austria, — the prison of Louis the Seven- 
teenth, — the prison of Elizabeth of Bourbon. There 
he lies, unpitied by the grand philanthropy, to medi- 
tate upon the fate of those who are faithful to their 
king and country. Whilst this prisoner, secluded from 
intercourse, was indulging in these cheering reflec- 
tions, he might possibly have had the further consola- 
tion of learning (by means of the insolent exultation 
of his guards) that there was an English ambassador 
at Paris ; he might have had the proud comfort of 
hearing that this ambassador had the honor of pass- 
ing his mornings in respectful attendance at the of- 
fice of a Regicide pettifogger, and that in the even- 
ing he relaxed in the amusements of the opera, and 
in the spectacle of an audience totally new, — an au- 
dience in which he had the pleasure of seeing about 
him not a single face that he could formerly have 
known in Paris, but, in the place of that company, 
one indeed more than equal to it in display of gayety, 
splendor, and luxury, — a set of abandoned wretches, 
squandering in insolent riot the spoils of their bleed- 
ing country : a subject of profound reflection both to 
the prisoner and to the ambassador. 

Whether all the matter upon which I have ground- 
ed my opinion of this last party be fully authenti- 
cated or not must be left to those who have had the 
opportunity of a nearer view of its conduct, and who 
have been more attentive in their perusal of the writ- 
ings which have appeared in its favor. But for my 
part, I have never heard the gross facts on which I 
ground my idea of their marked partiality to the 



LETTER m. 



403 



reigning tyranny in Prance in any part denied. I 
am not surprised at all this. Opinions, as they some- 
times follow, so they frequently guide and direct the 
affections; and men may become more attached to 
the country of their principles than to the country of 
their birth. What I have stated here is only to mark 
the spirit which seems to me, though in somewhat 
different ways, to actuate our great party-leaders, 
and to trace this first patt a of a negotiation to its 
true source. 

Such is the present state of our public councils. 
Well might I be ashamed of what seems to be a cen- 
sure of two great factions, with the two most elo- 
quent men which this country ever saw at the head 
of them, if I had found that either of them could 
support their conduct by any example in the history 
of their country. I should very much prefer their 
judgment to my own, if I were not obliged, by an 
infinitely overbalancing weight of authority, to pre- 
fer the collected wisdom of ages to the abilities of 
any two men living. — I return to the Declaration, 
with which the history of the abortio'.;. of a treaty 
with the Regicides is closed. 

After such an elaborate display had been made of 
the injustice and insolence of an enemy who seems 
to have been irritated by every one of the moans 
which had been commonly used with efiect to soothe 
the rage of intemperate power, the natural result 
would be, that the scabbard in which we in vain 
attempted to plunge our sword should have been 
thrown away with scorn. It would have been nat- 
ural, that, rising in the fulness of their might, insult- 
ed majesty, despised dignity, violated justice, rejected 
supplication, patience goaded into fury, would have 



•I 



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404 



LETTEH8 ON A BEOICTOE PEACE. 



poured out all the length of the reins upon all the 
wrath which they had so long restrained. It might 
have been expected, that, emulous of the glory of the 
youthful hero * in alliance with him, touched by the 
example of what one man well formed and well 
placed may do in the most desperate state of af- 
fairs, convinced there is a courage of the cabinet 
full as powerful and far less vulgar than that of 
the field, our minister would have changed the whole 
line of that unprosperous prudence which hitherto 
had produced all the efifects of the '" '^st temer- 
ity. If he found his situation full of danger, (and 
I do not deny that it is perilous in the extreme,) 
he must feel that it is also full of glory, and that 
he is placed on a stage than which no muse of fire 
that had ascended the highest heaven of invention 
could imagine anything more awful and august. It 
was hoped that in this swelling scene in which he 
moved, with some of the first potentates of Europe 
for his fellow-actors, and with so many of the rest for 
the anxious spectators of a part which, as ho plays 
it, determines forever their destiny and his own, like 
Ulysses in the unravelling point of the epic story, 
he would have thrown off his patience and his rags 
together, and, stripped of unworthy disguises, he 
would have stood forth in the form and in the at- 
titude of an hero. On that day it was thought he 
would have assumed the port of Mars ; that he would 
bid to be brought forth from their hideous kennel 
(where his scrupulous tenderness had too long im- 
mured them) those impatient dogs of war whose 
fierce regards affright even the minister of ven- 
geance that feeds them; that he would let them 

• The Archduke Charles of Aostruu 



' 1 



< i ' 



LETTEB m. 



405 



loose, in famine, fever, plagues, and death, upon a 
guilty race, to whose frame, and to all whose habit, 
order, peace, religion, and virtue are alien and ab- 
horrent. It was expected that he would at last have 
thought of active and effectual war ; that he would 
no longer amuse the British lion in the chase of mice 
and rats ; that he would no longer employ the whole 
naval power of Great Britain, once the terror of the 
world, to prey upon the miserable remains of a ped- 
dling commerce, which the enemy did not regard, 
and from which none could profit. It was expect- 
ed that he would have reasserted the justice of his 
cause ; that he would have reanimated whatever re- 
mained to him of his allies, and endeavored to re- 
cover those whom their fears had led astray; that 
he would have rekindled the martial ardor of his 
citizens ; that he would have held out to them the 
example of their ancestry, the assertor of Europe, 
and the scourge of French ambition ; that he would 
have reminded them of a posterity, which, if this 
nefarious robbery, under the fraudulent name and 
false color of a government, should in full power 
be seated in the heart of Europe, must forever be 
consigned to vice, impiety, barbarism, and the most 
ignominious slavery of body and mind. In so holy 
a cause it was presumed that he would (as in the 
beginning of the war he did) have opened all tho 
temples, and with prayer, with fasting, and with sup- 
plication, (better directed than to the grir. Moloch 
of Regicide in France,) have called upon us to raise 
that united cry which has so often stormed heaven, 
and with a pious violence forced down blessings upon 
a repentant people. It was hoped, that, when he had 
invoked upon his endeavors the favorable regard of 



k 



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¥ 
I? 



406 



LEITEBS ON ▲ BEOICIOE PEAOB. 



the Protector of the human race, it would be seen 
that his meuaces to the euemy and his prayers to the 
Almighty were not loUowed, but accompanied, with 
correspondent action. It was hoped that his shrill- 
ing trumpet should be heard, not to announce a 
show, but to sound a charge. 

Such a conclusion to such a declaration and such 
a speech would have been a thing of course, — so 
much a thing of course, that I will be bold to say, 
if in any ancient history, the Roman for instance, 
(supposing that in Rome the matter of such a de- 
tail could have been furnished,) a consul had gone 
through such a long train of proceedings, and that 
there was a chasm in the manuscripts by which we 
had lost the conclusion of the speech and the subse 
queut part of the narrative, all critics would agree 
that a Fremshemius would have been thought to 
have managed tto supplementaiy business of a con- 
tinuator most unskilfully, and to liave supplied the 
hiatus most improbably, if he had not filled up the 
gaping space in a manner somewhat similar (though 
better executef''^ to what I have imagined. But too 
often different rational conjecture from melancholy 
fact. This exordium, as contrary to all the rules of 
rhetoric as to those more essential rules of policy 
which our situation would dictate, is intended as a 
prelude to a deadening and disheartening proposi- 
tion ; as if all that a minister had to fear in a war of 
his own conducting was, that the people should pur- 
sue it with too ardent a zeal. Such a tone as I 
guessed the minister would have taken, I am very 
sure, is the true, uusuborned, unsophisticated lan- 
guage of genuine, natural feeimg, under the smart of 
patience exhausted and abused. Such a conduct as 



LBITEB m. 



407 



the facts stated in the Declaration gave room to ex- 
pect is that which true wisdom would have dictat- 
ed under the impression of those genuine feelings. 
Never was there a jar or discord between genuine 
sentiment and sound policy. Never, no, never, did 
Nature say one thing and Wisdom say anotlier. Nor 
are sentiments of elevation in themselves turgid and 
unnatural. Nature is never more truly herself than 
in her grandest forms. The Apollo of Belvedere (if 
the universal robber has yet left him at Belvedere) 
is as much in Nature as any figure from the pencil 
of Rembrandt or any clown in the rustic revels of 
T^niers. Indeed, it is when a great nation is in great 
difficulties that minds must exalt themselves to the 
occasion, or all is lost. Strong passion under the 
direction of a feeble reason feeds a low fever, which 
serves only to destroy the body that entertains it. 
But vehement passion does not always indicate an 
infirm judgment. It often accompanies, and actu- 
ates, and is even auxiliary to a powerful understand- 
ing ; and when they both conspire and act harmoni- 
ously, their force is great to destroy disorder within 
and to repel injury from abroad. If ever there was 
a time that calls on us for no vulgar conception of 
things, and for exertions in no vulgar strain, it is the 
awful hour that Providence has now appointed to this 
nation. Every little measure is a great error, and 
every great error will bring on no small ruin. Noth- 
ing can be directed above the mark that we must aim 
at : everything below it is absolutely thrown away. 

Except with the addition of the unheard-of insult 
ofifered to our ambassador by his rude expulsion, we 
are never to forget that the point on which the nego- 
tiation with De la Croix broke off was exactly that 



i 






I 



m 



i 



p 



406 



LBTT'.rii ON 



Ui^CJC L>ii /T. vCI. 



y 




which had stifl $ 'j< ifs cradV? Uie uugotiation we had 
attempted with 6u'th(ncaiy. Each of these traubuo- 
tions concluded wi:li a mun • • to upon our part; but 
the last of our luamfesiocb v- y materially differed 
from the first. The first Declaration stated, that 
*^ nothing was lej't but to prosecute a war equally Just 
and necessari/." In the second the justice and neces- 
sity of the war is dropped : the sentence importing 
that nothing was left but the prosecution of such a 
war disappears also. Instead of this resolution to 
prosecute the war, we sink into a whining lamen- 
tation on the abrupt termination of the treaty. Wo 
have nothing left but tlie last resource of female 
weakness, of helpless infancy, of doting decrepitude, 
— wailing and lamentation. We cannot even utter 
a sentiment of vigor ; — " his Majesty has only to 
lament." A poor possession, to be left to a great 
monarch ! Mark the effect produced on our coun- 
cils by continued insolence and inveterate hostility. 
We grow more malleable under their blows. In rev- 
erential silence we smother the cause and origin of 
the war. On that fundamental article of faith we 
leave every one to abound in his own sense. Li the 
minister's speech, glossmg on the Declaration, it is 
indeed mentioned, but very feebly. The lines are 
so faintly drawn as hardly to be traced. They only 
make a part of our crmolation in the cire amstanccs 
which we .'- > dolefully lament. We rest our mer- 
its on the humility, the earnestness of solicitation, 
and the perfect goo^ ith of those submissions which 
have been used to persuade our RegiciJu enemies 
to grant ui^ some sort of peace. Nut a word is said 
which miglit not have been full as well said, and 
much better too, if the British nation had appi ired 



UETTEB in. 



409 



in the simple character of a penltesJ convinced of 
his errors and olTMices, and offering, by p. aices, by 
pilgrimages, and y all the mode^ of exp -tion ever 
devised by anxious, restless guilt lo m all t j 
atonement iu his miserabU; power. 

The Declamtioi ends, :i^ ' have efore quoted i; 
with a bolomn vuhnitary plcige, tiifc most full ana 
the mo<t solemn tli t ever was given, of our resolu- 
tion (if so it may be called) to enter again into the 
very same course. It requires notliintJ more of the 
Regicides than to funiisli some sort of excuse, some 
sort of ci)1 rab'.c pretext, for our renewing the suppli- 
cation'^ of m.iocenc. at the fe*;t of giilt. It leav s 
the moment of negotiation, a mostimf )rtant moment, 
to the choice of t lo enemy. He is to regulate it ac- 
cording to the convenience of his aflu '-. Ho is to 
bring it forward at that time hen it uaj best serve 
to establish his authority at houie : nu to exten i his 
power abr )ad. A dangerous assurance for thi na- 
tion to givf, whether it is broken or whether i; is 
kept. As all treaty was brokf^u off, and broken of n 
th • manner we have een, the field of future cond -1 
ought to l>e reser\-4 free and unincumbero^ 'o ■ ar 
future discretion as to the sort of con.iu. i pre 
fixed to the pledge, namely, " that the ene^ny M»iiia 
be disposed to enter into the work of gen il r,acifi- 
cation with t se spiiit of reconciliation and e<iuity 
this phraseolo annot possilly be considerec; h- 
wise than as t . many words t own in to fill t 
tence and to mund it to the ear. We prefix^- 
same plausible conaitions o any renew . of the ue 
gotiation, in our manifesto on the rejection of our 
proposals at Basle. We did not consider those con- 
ditions as binding. We opened a much more serious 









m 




m 



LETTERS ON A. REGICIDE PEACE. 



.. ?' 



negotiation without any sort of regard to tliem ; and 
there is no new negotiation which we can possibly 
open upon fewer indications of conciliation and equity 
than were to be discovered when we entered into our 
last at Paris. Any of the slightest pretences, any 
of the most loose, formal, equivocating expressions, 
would justify us, imder the peroration of this piece, 
in again sending the last or some other Lord Malmes- 
bury to Paris. 

I hope I misunderstand this pledge, — or that we 
shall show no more regard to it than we have done to 
all the faith that we have plighted to vigor and reso- 
lution in our former Declaration. If I am to under- 
stand the conclusion of the Declaration to be what 
unfortunately it seems to me, we make an engage- 
ment with the enemy, without any correspondent 
engagement on his side. We seem to have cut our- 
selves off from any benefit which an intermediate 
state of things might furnish to enable us totally to 
overturn that power, so little connected with modera- 
tion and justice. By holding out no hope, either to 
the justly discontented in France, or to any foreign 
power, and leaving the recommencement of all treaty 
to this identical junto of assassins, we do in effect 
assure and guaranty to them the full possession of 
the rich fruits of their confiscations, of their murders 
of men, women, and children, and of all the multi- 
plied, endless, nameless iniquities by which they 
have obtained their power. "We guaranty to them 
the possession of a country, such and so situated 
as France, round, entire, immensely perhaps aug- 
mented. 

*' Well," some will say, " In this case we have only 
submitted to the nature of things." The nature of 



LETTEB m. 



411 



things is, I admit, a sturdy adversary. This might 
be alleged as a plea for our attempt at a treaty. But 
what plea of that kind can be alleged, after the treaty 
was dead and gone, in favor of this posthumous Dec- 
laration ? No necessity has driven us to that pledge. 
It is without a counterpart even in expectation. And 
what can be stated to obviate the evil which that soli- 
tary engagement mu'Jt produce on the understar mgs 
or the fears of men 'i I ask, what have the Regicides 
promised you in return, in case you should show what 
they would call dispositions to conciliation and equity, 
whilst you are givmg that pledge from the throne, 
and engaging Parliament to counter-secure it 1 It is 
an awful consideration. It was on the very day of 
the date of this wonderful pledge,* in which we as- 
sumed the Directorial government as lawful, and in 
which we engaged ourselves to treat with them when- 
ever they pleased,-it was on that very day the Regi- 
cide fleet was weighing anchor from one of your 
harbors, where it had remained four days m perfect 
quiet These harbors of the British dominions are 
the ports of France. They are of no use but to pro- 
tect^ enemy from your best allies the storms of 
heaven and his own rashness. Had Uie West of 
Ireland been an unportuous coast, the French naval 
power would have been undone. The enemy uses 
£e moment for hostUity, without the least regard to 
your future dispositions of equity and conciliation. 
Thev go out of what were once your harbors, and 
the/return to them at their pleasure. Eleven days 
they had the full use of Bantry Bay, and at length 
their fleet returns from their harbor of Bantry to 
their harbor of Brest. Whilst you are invoking the 

• Dec. 37, 1796. 



!i i 



'^Jt 



412 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 






III 



H^Hf 



propitious spirit of Begicide equity and conciliation, 
they answer you with an attack. They turn out 
the pacific bearer of your " how do you dos," Lord 
Malmesbury; and they return your visit, and their 
" thanks for your obliging inquiries," by their old 
practised assassin, Hoche. They come to attack — 
what ? A town, a fort, a naval station ? They como 
to attack your king, your Constitution, and the very 
being of that Parliament which was holding out to 
them these pledges, together with the entireness of 
the empire, the laws, liberties, and properties of all 
the people. We know that they meditated the very 
same invasion, and for the very same purposes, upon 
this kingdi m. and, had the coast been as opportune, 
would have effected it. 

Whilst you are in vain torturing your invention to 
assure them of your sincerity and good faith, they 
have left no doubt concerning their good faith and 
tAeir sincerity towards those to whom they have en- 
gaged their honor. To their power they have been 
true to the only pledge they have ever yet given to 
you, or to any of yours : I mean the solemn engage- 
ment which they entered into with the deputation 
of traitors who appeared at their bar, from England 
wxd from Ireland, in 1792. They have been true 
and faithful to the engagement which they had made 
more largely, — that is, their engagemenii; to give 
effectual aid to insurrection and treason, wherever 
they might appear in the world. We have seen the 
British Declaration. This is the counter Declaration 
of the Directory. This is the reciprocal pledge which 
Regicide amity gives to the conciliatory pledges of 
kings. But, thank Cud, such pledges cannot exist 
single. They have no coiuterpart ; and if ti.ey had, 



LETTER m. 



418 



tho enemy's conduct cancels such declarations, — 
and, I trust, along with them, cancels everything of 
mischief and dishonor that they contain. 

There is one thing in this business which appears 
to be wholly unaccountable, or accountable on a sup- 
position I dare not entertain for a moment. I can- 
not help asking, Why all this pains to clear the 
British nation of ambition, perfidy, and the insatiate 
thirst of war ? At what period of time was it that 
our country has deserved that load of infamy of 
which nothing but preternatural humiliation in lan- 
guage and conduct can serve to clear us ? If we 
have deserved this kind of evil fame from anything 
we have done in a state of prosperity, I am sure that 
it is not an abject conduct in adversity that can clear 
our reputation. Well is it known that ambition can 
creep as well as soar. The pride of no person in a 
flourishmg condition is more justly to be dreaded 
than that of him who is mean and cringing under a 
doubtful and unprosperous fortune. But it seems it 
was thought necessary to give some out-of-the-way 
proofs of our sincerity, as well as of our freedom 
from ambition. Is, then, fraud and falsehood become 
the distinctive character of Englishmen ? Whenever 
your enemy chooses to accuse you of perfidy and ill 
faith, will you put it into his power to throw you in- 
to the purgatory of self-humiliation ? Is his charge 
equal to the finding of the grand jury of Europe, and 
BuflBcient to put you upon your trial ? liut on that 
trial I will defend the English ministry. I am sorry 
that on some points I have, on the principles I have 
always opposed, so good a defence to make. They 
were not the first to begin the war. They did not 
excite the general confederacy in Europe, which was 



I 



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■4r 



414 



LETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



11" 



m 



so properly formed on the alarm given by the Jaco- 
binism of France. They did not begin with an hos- 
tile aggression on the Regicides, or any of their allies. 
These parricides of their own country, disciplining 
themselves for foreign by domesilc violence, were 
the first to attack a p'wer that was our ally by na- 
ture, by habit, and by the sanction of multiplied 
treaties. Is it not true that they were the first to 
declare war upon this kingdom? Is every word in 
the declaration from Downing Street concerning their 
conduct, and concerning ours and that of our allies, 
80 obviously false that it is necessary to give some 
new-invtnted proofs of our good faith in order to ex- 
pimge the memory of all this perfidy ? 

We know that over-laboring a point of this kind 
has the direct contrary effect from what we wish. 
We know that there is a legal presumption against 
men, juando se nimis purgitant; and if a charge of 
ambition is not refuted by an affected humility, cer- 
tainly the character of fraud and perfidy is still 
less to be washed away by indications of meanness. 
Fraud and prevarication are servile vices. They 
sometimes grow out of the necessities, always out 
of the habits, of slavish and degenerate spirits ; and 
on the theatre of the world, it is not by assuming the 
mask of a Davus or a Geta that an actor will obtain 
credit for manly simplicity and a liberal openness of 
proceeding. It is an erect countenance, it is a firm 
adherence to principle, it is a power of resisting false 
ehame and frivolous fear, that assert our good faith 
and honor, and assure to us the confidence of man- 
kind. Therefore all these negotiations, and all the 
declarations with which they were preceded and fol- 
lowed, can only serve to raise presumptions against 



il " 



liETTEB in. 



416 



that good faith and public integrity the fame of which 
to preserve inviolate is so much the interest and duty 
of every nation. „ 

The pledge is an engagement "to all liuroj^. 
This is the more extraordinary, because it is a pledge 
which no power in Europe, whom I have yet heard 
of, has thought proper to require at our hands. I 
am not in the secrets of office, and therefore I may 
be excused for proceeding upon probabmties and ex- 
terior indications. I have surveyed all Europe from 
the east to the west, from the north to the south, m 
search of this call upon us to purge ourselves of "sub- 
tle duplicity and a Punic style " in our proceedmgs. 
I havo not heard that his Excellency the Ottoman 
ambassador has expressed his doubts of the British 
sincerity in our negotiation with the most unchristian 
republic lately set up at our door. What sympathy 
in that quarter may have introduced a remonstrance 
upon the want of faith in thiS nation I cannot posi- 
tively say. If it exists, it is in Turkish o.- Arabic, 
and possibly is not yet translated. But none of the nar 
tions which compose the old Christian world have 1 
yet heard as calling upon us for those judicial purga- 
tions and ordeals, by fire and water, which we have 
chosen to go through ; - for the other great proof, by 
battle, we seem to decline. 

For whose use, entertainment, or instruction are 
all those overstrained and overlabored proceedings in 
council, in negotiation, and in speeches in Parliament 
intended ? What royal cabinet is to '.e enriched with 
these high-finished pictures of the arrogance of the 
sworn enemies of kings and the meek patience of a 
British administration ? In what heart is it intended 
to kindle pity towards our multiplied mortifications 




416 



LmTEBS ON A BEOICIDG PEACE. 



Hi 



and disgraces ? At best it is superfluous. What na- 
tion is unacquainted with the haughty disposition of 
the common enemy of all nations ? It has been more 
than seen, it has been felt, — not only by those who 
have been the victims of their imperious rapacity, 
but, in a degree, by those very powers who have con- 
sented to establish this robbery, that they might be 
able to copy it, and with impunity to make new usur- 
pations of their own. 

The King of Prussia has hypothecated in trust to 
the Regicides his rich and fertile territories on the 
Rhine, as a pledge of his zeal and affection to the 
cause of liberty and equality. He has seen them 
robbed with unbounded liberty and with the most lev- 
elling equality. The woods are wasted, the country 
is ravaged, property is confiscated, and the people are 
put to bear a double yoke, in the exactions of a tyran- 
nical government and in the contributions of an hos- 
tile irruption. Is it to satisfy the Court of Berlin 
that the Court of London is to give the same sort of 
pledge of its sincerity and good faith to the French 
Directory ? It is not that heart full of sensibility, it 
is not Lucchesini, the minister of his Prussian Majes- 
ty, the late ally of England, and the present ally of 
its enemy, who has demanded this pledge of our sin- 
cerity, as the price of the renewal of the long lease 
of his sincere friendship to this kingdom. 

It is not to our enemy, the now faithful ally of 
Regicide, late the faithful ally of Great Britain, the 
Catholic king, that we address our doleful lamenta- 
tion : it is not to the Prince of Peace, whose declara- 
tion of war was one of the first auspicious omens of 
general tranquillity, which our dove-like ambassador, 
with the olive-branch in his beak, was saluted with at 
his entrance into the ark of clean birds at Paris. 



mtm 



LEREB m. 



417 



Surely it is not to the Tetrarch of Sardinia, now 
the faithful ally of a power who has seized upon all 
his fortresses and confiscated the oldest dominions of 
his house, — it is not to this once powerful, once re- 
spected, and once cherished ally of Great Britain, that 
we mean to prove the sincerity of the peace which we 
offered to make at his expense. Or is it to him we 
are to prove the arrogance of the power who, under 
the name of friend, oppresses him, and the poor re- 
mains of his subjects, with all the ferocity of the most 
cruel enemy ? 

It is not to Holland, under the name of an ally, 
laid under a permanent military contribution, filled 
with their double garrison of barbarous Jacobin troops 
and ten times more barbarous Jacobin clubs and as- 
semblies, that we find ourselves obliged to give this 
pledge. 

Is it to Genoa that we make this kind promise, — 
a state which the Regicides were to defend in a favor- 
able neutrality, but whose neutrality has been, by the 
gentle influence of Jacobin authority, forced into the 
trammels of an alliance, — whose alliance has been 
secured by the admission of French garrisons, — and 
whose peace has been forever ratified by a forced dec- 
laration of war against ourselves ? 

It is not the Grand Duke of Tuscany who claims 
this declaration, — not the Grand Duke, who for his 
early sincerity, for his love of peace, and for his en- 
tire confidence in the amity of the assassins of his 
house, has been complimented in the British Parlia- 
ment with the name of " the wiiest sovereign in Mir 
rope": it is not this pacific Solomon, or his philo- 
sophic, cudgelled ministry, cudgelled by English and 
by French, whose wisdom and philosophy between 



!i 



▼Ol. T. 



87 



i 

ail 



418 



LBTTEB3 ON A EEOICIDE PEACE. 



» h 



them have placed Leghorn in the hands of the enemy 
of the Austrian family, and driven the only profita- 
ble commerce of Tuscany from its only port: it is 
not this sovereign, a far more able statesman than 
any of the Medici m whose chair he sits, it is not the 
philosopher Carletti, more ably speculative than Gal- 
Ueo, more profoundly poUtic than Machiavel, that 
call upon us so loudly to give the same happy proofs 
of the same good faith to the republic always the 
same, always one and indivisible. 

It is not Venice, whose principal cities the enemy 
has appropriated to himself, and scornfully desired 
the state to indemnify itself from the Emperor, that 
we wish to convince of the pride and the despotism of 
an enemy who loads us with his scoflFs and buffets. 

It is not for his Holiness we intend this consolato- 
ry declaration of our own weakness, and of the tyran- 
nous temper of his grand enemy. That prince has 
known both the one and the other from the begin- 
ning. The artists of the French Revolution had giv- 
en their very first essays and sketchef cf robbery and 
desolation against his territories, in a far more cruel 
♦' murdermg piece " than had ever entered into the 
imagination of painter or poet. Without ceremony 
they tore from bis cherishing arms the possessions 
which he held ior five hundred years, undisturbed by 
all the ambition of all the ambitious mouarcbs who 
during that period have reigned in France. Is it to 
him, in whose wrong we have in our late negotiation 
ceded his now unhappy countries near the Rhone, 
lately amongst the most flourishing (perhaps the 
most flourishing for their extent) of all the countries 
upon earth, that we are to prove the sincerity of our 
resolution to make peace with the Republic of Bar- 



S3SS 



LETTEB m. 



419 



barism? That venerable potentate and pontiff is 
sunk deep into the vale of years ; he is half disarmed 
by his peaceful character; his dominions are more 
than half disarmed by a peace of two hundred years, 
defended as they were, not by force, but by rever- 
ence: yet, in all these straits, we see him display, 
amidst the recent ruins and the new defacements of 
his plundered capital, along with the mild and deco- 
rated piety of the modern, all the spirit and mag- 
nanimity of ancient Rome. Does he, who, though 
himself unable to defend them, nobly refused to re- 
ceive pecuniary compensations for the protection he 
owed to his people of Avignon, Carpentras, and the 
Venaissin, — does he want proofs of our good disposi- 
tion to deliver over that people, without any security 
for them, or any compensation to their sovereign, to 
this cruel enemy ? Does he want to be satisfied of 
the sincerity of our humiliation to Prance, who has 
seen his free, fertile, and happy city and state of 
Bologna, the cradle of regenerated law, the seat of 
sciences and of arts, so hideously metamorphosed, 
whilst he was crying to Great Britain for aid, and 
offering to purchase that aid at any price? Is it 
him, who sees that chosen spot of plenty and delight 
converted into a Jacobin ferocious republic, depend- 
ent on the homicides of France, — is it him, who, 
from the miracles of his beneficent industry, has done 
a work which defied the power of the Roman em- 
perors, though with an enthralled world to labor for 
them, — is it him, who has drained and cultivated the 
Pontine Marshes, that we are to satisfy of our cordial 
spirit of conciliation with those who, in their equity, 
are restoring Holland again to ilie seas, whose max- 
ims poison more than the exhalations of the most 



I*. 

! 



410 



LETTEBS ON A BBQICIDB PEICX. 



deadly fens, and who turn all the fertilities of Nature 
and of Art into an howling desert ? Is it to him that 
we are to demonstrate the good faith of our submis- 
sions to the Cannibal Republic,— to him, who is com- 
manded to deliver up into their hands Ancona and 
Civita Vecchia, seats of commerce raised by the wise 
and liberal labors and expenses of the present and late 
pontiffs, ports not more belonging to the Ecclesiastical 
State than to the commerce of Great Britain, thus 
wresting from his hands the power of the keys of the 
centre of Italy, as before they had taken possession of 
the keys of the northern part from the hands of the 
unhappy King of Sardinia, the natural ally of Eng- 
land ? Is it to him we are to prove our good faith in 
the peace which we are soliciting to receive from the 
hands of his and our robbers, the enemies of all arts, 
all sciences, all civilization, and all commerce ? 

Is it to the Cispadane or to the Transpadane re- 
publics, which have been forced to bow under the 
galling yoke of French liberty, that we address all 
these pledges of our sincerity and love of peace with 
their unnatural parents ? 

Are we by this Declaration to satisfy the King of 
Naples, whom we have left to struggle as he can, 
after our abdication of Corsica, and the flight of the 
whole naval force of England out of the whole cir- 
cuit of the Mediterranean, abandoning our allies, 
our commerce, and the honor of a nation once the 
protectress of all other nations, because strengthened 
)y the independenci; and enriched by the commerce 
of them all ? By the express provisions of a recent 
treaty, we had engaged with the King of Naples to 
keep a naval force in the Mediterranean. But, good 
Gk)d! was a treaty at all necessary for this? The 



f' ■;♦ 



liEITEB in. 



421 



uniform policy of this kingdom as a state, and cmi- 
nentlj so as a commercial state, has at all times led 
us to keep a powerful squadron and a commodious 
naval station in that central sea, which borders upon 
and which connects a far greater number and vari- 
ety of states, EuropeaL Asiatic, and African, than 
any other. Without lach a naval force, France 
must become despotic mistress of that sea, and of 
all the countries whose shores it washes. Our com- 
merce must become vassal to her and dependent on 
her will. Suice we are come no longer to trust to 
our force in arms, but to our dexterity in negotia- 
tion, and begin to pay a desperate court to a proud 
and coy usurpation, and have finally sent an ambas- 
sador to the Bourbon Regicides at Paris, the King 
of Naples, who saw that no reliance was to be placed 
on our engagements, or on any pledge of our adhei^ 
ence to our nearest and dearest interests, has been 
obliged to send his ambassador also to join the rest 
of the squalid tribe of the representatives of degrad- 
ed kings. This monarch, surely, does not want any 
proof of the sincerity of bur amicable dispositions to 
that amicable republic, into whose arms he has been 
given by our desertion of him. 

To look to the powers of the North. — It is not to 
the Danish ambassador, insolently treated in his own 
character and in ours, that we are to give proofs of 
the Regicide arrogance, and of o\ir disposition to 
submit to it. 

With regard to Sweden I cannot say much. The 
French influence is struggling with her indepen- 
dence ; and they who consider the manner in which 
the ambassador of that power was treated not long 
since at Paris, and the manner in which the fatlier 



fl 



I 

1' 



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122 



LETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEAOB. 



II 



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of the present King of Sweden (himself the victim of 
regicide principles and passions) would have looked 
on the present assassins of France, will not be very 
prompt to believe that the young Kuig of Sweden 
has made this kind of requisition to the King of 
Great Britain, and has given this kind of auspice of 
his new government. 

I speak last of the most important of all. It cer- 
tainly was not the late Empress of Russia at whose 
instance we have given this pledge. It is not the 
new Emperor, the inheritor of t> much glory, and 
placed in a situation of so much delicacy and difficul- 
ty for the preservation of that inheritance, who calls 
on England, the natural ally of his dominions, to de- 
prive herself of her power of action, and to bind her- 
self to France. France at no time, and in no; -j oi 
its fashions, least of all in its last, has been >^ver 
looked upon as the friend either of Russia or of 
Great Britain. Everything good, I trust, is to be 
expected from this prince, — whatever may be with- 
out authority given out of an influence over his mind 
possessed by that only potentate from whom he haa 
anything to apprehend or with whom he has much 
even to discuss. 

This sovereign knows, I have no doubt, and feels, 
on what sort of bottom is to be laid the foxindation 
of a Russian throne. He knows what a rock of na- 
tive granite is to form the pedestal of his statue who 
is to emulate Peter the Great. His renown will be 
in continuing with ease and safety what his predeces- 
sor was obliged to achieve through mighty struggles. 
He is sensible that his business is not to innovate, 
but to secure and to establish, — that reformations 
at this day are attempts at best of ambiguous utility. 



usmsB m. 



428 



He will revere his father with the pietv of a sou, but 
in his govenunpnt ho will imitato the policy »f his 
mother. His father, with many excellent qualities, 
had a short reign, — because, being a native Eu^ian, 
he was unfortunately advised to act m the spirit ot 
a foreigner. His mother reigned ov- i iiussia three- 
and-thaty years with the greatest glory, — because, 
with the disadvantage of being a foreigner bmu. she 
made herself a Russian A wise prince like the j. res- 
ent will improve his country ; but it will be cauti >us- 
ly and pro^ -sively.upon its own native groundwork 
of religion, manners, habitudes, and alliances. If I 
prognosticate right, it is not tlie Emper., of Russia 
that ever w '1 caU for extravagant proofs of our de- 
sire to reconcile ourselves to the irreconcilaMr enemy 
of all tlirones. 

I do not know why I should not include Amenca 
among the European powers, — because she is of Eu- 
ropean origin, and has not yet, like France, d. troyed 
aU traces of manners, laws, opinions, and usages 
which she drew from Europe. As long as that Eu- 
rope EhaU have any possessions either in the southern 
or tlie northern parts of that America, even separated 
as it is by the ocean, it must be considered as a part 
of the European system. It is not America, menaced 
with internal ruii from the attempts to plant Jaco- 
binism instead of liberty in that country, — it is n< . 
America, whose mdepoudeiice is directly attacked by 
the French, the enemies of the independence of all 
nations, that calls upon us to give security by dis- 
arming ourselves in a treacherous peace. By such 
a peace, we shall deliver the Americans, their liber- 
ty, and their order, without ri^tuurce, to the mercy 
of their imperious allies, who will have peace or neu- 



n 



424 



LETTEBS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



M if 



f : J 



txality with no state which is not ready to join her 
in war against England. 

Having run round the whole circle of the Euro- 
pean system, wherever it acts, I must affirm tliat all 
the foreign powers who are not leagued with France 
for the utter destruction of all balance through Eu- 
rope and throughout the world demand other as 
surances from this kingdom than are given in that 
Declaration. They require assurances, not of the 
sincerity of our good dispositions towards the usur- 
pation in France, but of our afifectiou towards the 
college of the ancient states of Europe, and pledges 
of our constancy, our fidelity, and of our fortitude 
in resisting to the last the power that menaces them 
all. The apprehension from which they wish to be 
delivered cannot be from anything they dread in 
the ambition of England. Our power must be their 
strength. They hope more from us than they fear. 
I am sure the only ground of their hope, and of our 
hope, is in the greatness of mind hitherto shown by 
the people of this nation, and its adherence to the 
unalterable principles of its ancient policy, whatever 
government may finally prevail in Fiviuce. I have 
entered into this detail of the wishes and expecta- 
tions of the European powers, in order to point out 
more clearly not so much what their disposition as 
(a consideration of far greater importance) what 
their situation demands, according as that situation 
L related to the Regicide Republic and to this king- 
dom. 

Then, if it is not to satisfy the foreign powers we 
make this assurance, to wliat power at home is it 
that we pay all this humiliating court ? Not to the 
old Whigs or to the ancient Tories of this kingdom, 






4i 



m 



LETTER ni. 



425 



— if any memory of such ancient divisions still ex- 
ists amongst us. To which of the principles of these 
parties is this assurance agreeable? Is it to the 
Whigs we are to recommend the aggrandizement of 
Prance, and the subversion of the balance of pow- 
er? Is it to the Tories we are to recommend our 
eagerness to cement ourselves with the enemies of 
royalty and religion? But if these parties, which 
by their dissensions have so often distracted the king- 
dom, which by their union have once saved it, and 
which by their collision ard mutual resistance have 
preserved the variety of this Constitution in its uni- 
ty, be (as I believe they are) neariy extinct by the 
growth of new ones, which have their roots in the 
present circumstances of the times, I wish to know 
to which of these new descriptions this Declaration 
is addressed. It can hardly be to those persons who, 
in the new distribution of parties, consider the con- 
servation in England of the ancient order of things 
as necessary to preserve order everywhere else, and 
who regard the general conservation of order in other 
countries as reciprocally necessary to preserve the 
same state of things in th >se islands. That party 
never can wish to see Great Britain pledge herself 
to give the lead and the ground of advantage and 
superiority to the France of to^iay, in any treaty 
which is to settle Europe. I insist upon it, that, so 
far from expecting such an engagement, they are 
generally stupefied and confounded with it. That 
the other party, which demands g: eat changes here, 
and is so pleased to see them everywhere else, which 
party I call Jacobin, that this faction does, from the 
bottom of its heart, approve the Declaration, and does 
erect its crest upon the engagement, there can be 



.• ; 



i^r^ 



. si^ 



426 



LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



< -I 



little doubt. To them it may be addressed with pro- 
priety, for it answers their purposes in every point. 

The party in opposition within the House of Lords 
and Commons it is irreverent, and half a breach of 
privilege, (far from my thoughts,) to consider as 
Jacobin. This party has always denied the existence 
of such a faction, and has treated the machinations 
of those whom you and I call Jacobins as so many 
forgeries and fictions of the minister and his adher- 
ents, to find a pretext for destroying freedom and 
setting up an arbitrary power in this kingdom. How- 
ever, whether this minority has r. leaning towards the 
French system or only a charitable toleration of those 
who lean that way, it is certain that they have al- 
ways attacked the sincerity of the minister in the 
same modes, and on the very same grounds, and 
nearly in the same terms, with the Directory. It 
must therefore be at the tribunal of the minority 
(from the whole tenor of the speech) that the min- 
ister appeared to consider himself obliged to purge 
himself of duplicity. It was at their bar tliat ho 
held up his hand; it was on their sellette that he 
seemed to answer interrogatories; it was on their 
principles that he defended his whole conduct. They 
certainly take what the French call the haul du pavi. 
They have loudly called for the negotiation. It was 
accorded to them. They engaged their support of 
the war with vigor, ia case peace was not granted 
on honorable terms. Peace was not granted on any 
terms, honorable or shameful. Whether these judges, 
few in number, but powerful in jurisdiction, are sat- 
isfied, — whether they to whom this new pledge is 
hypothecated have redeemed their own, — whether 
they have given one particle more of their support 



i, 



lii 



LEflTEB m. 



42T 



to ministry, or even favored them with their good 
opinion or their candid construction, I leave it to 
those wlio recollect that memorable debate to de- 

tf ^mine. . ,, 

The fact is, that neither this Declaration, nor the 
negotiation which is its subject, could serve any one 
good purpose, foreign or domestic; it could conduce 
to no end, either with regard to allies or neutrals. 
It tends neither to bring back the misled, nor to 
give courage to the fearful, nor to animate and con- 
firm those who are hearty and zealous in the cause. 
I hear it has been said (though I can scarcely 
believe it) by a distinguished person, in an assembly 
where, if there be less of the torrent and tempest 
of eloquence, more guarded expression is to be ex- 
pected, that, indeed, there was no just gromid of 
hope in this business from the begmnmg. 

It is plain that this noble person, however conver- 
sant in negotiation, having been employed m no less 
than "our embassies, and in two hemispheres, and in 
one of those negotiations having fully experienced 
what it was to proceed to treaty without previous 
encouragement, was not at all consulted lu this ex- 
periment. For his Majesty's principal minister de- 
clared, on the very same day, in another House, his 
Maiesty's deep and sincere regret at its unlortunate 
and abrupt termination, so different from the wishes 
and hope» that were entertained," — and m other 
parts of the speech speaks of this abrupt termination 
as a great disappointment, and as a fall from sincere 
endeavors and sanguine expectation. Here are, in- 
deed, sentiments diametrically opposite, as to the 
hopes with which the negotiation was commenced 
and carried on ; and what is curious is, the grounds 



\-x 



..I'j 

m 



428 



LSTTEBS ON A BEGICIBE PEACE. 



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t i I 



i 



of the hopes on the one side and the despair on the 
other are exactly the same. The logical conclusion 
from the common premises is, indeed, in favor of the 
noble lord ; for they are agreed that the enemy was 
far from giving the least degree of countenance to 
any such hopes, and that they proceeded in spite of 
every discouragement which the enemy had thrown 
in their way. But there is another material point 
in which they do not seem to diflfer : that is to say, 
the result of the desperate experiment of the noble 
lord, and of the promising attempt of the great min- 
ister, in satisfying the people of England, and in 
causing discontent to the people of France, — or, as 
the minister expresses it, " in uniting England and 
in dividing France." 

For my own part, though I perfectly agreed with 
the noble lord that the attempt was desperate, so 
desperate, indeed, as to deserve his name of an ex- 
periment, yet no fair man can possibly doubt that the 
minister was perfectly sincere in his proceeding, and 
that, from his ardent wislies for peace with the Regi- 
cides, he was led to conceive hopes which were 
founded rather in his vehement desires than in any 
rational ground of political speculation. Convinced 
as I am of this, it had been better, in my humble 
opinion, tliat jiersons of great name and authority 
had abstained from those topics which had been used 
to call the minister's sincerity into doubt, and had 
not adopted the sentiments of the Directory upon the 
.subject of all our negotiations: for the noble lord 
expressly says that the experiment was made for the 
satisfaction of the country. The Directory says ex- 
actly the same thing. Upon granting, in consequence 
of our supplications, the passport to Lord Malmes- 






1^ 



LETTEB III. 



429 



bury, in order to remove all sort of hope from ita 
success, they charged all our previous steps, even to 
th&t moment of submissive demand to be admitted to 
their presence, on duplicity and perfidy, and assumed 
that the object of all the steps we had taken was that 
« of justifying the continuance of the war in the eyes 
of the English nation, and of throwing all the odi- 
um of it upon the French." " The EngUsh nation " 
(said they) "supports impatiently the continuance 
of the war, and a reply must be made to its complairOt 
and its reproaches; the Parliament is about to be 
opened, and the mouths of the orators who will declaim 
against the war must be shut; the demands for new 
taxes must be justified; and to obtain these results, it is 
necessary to be able to advance that the French govern- 
ment refuses every reasonable proposition for peace.' ' I 
am sorry that the language of the friends to ministry 
and the enemies to mankind should be so much m 

unison. 

As to the fact in which these parties are so well 
aoreed, that the experiment ought to have been made 
for the satisfaction of this country, (meaning the 
country of England,) it were well to be wished that 
persons of eminence would cease to make themselves 
representatives of the people of England, without a 
letter of attorney, or any other act of procuration. 
In legal construction, the sense of the people of Eng- 
land is to be collected from the House of Commons ; 
and though I do not deny the possibility of an abuse 
of this trust as well as any other, yet I think, with- 
out the most weighty reasons and in the most urgent 
exigencies, it is highly dangerous to suppose that 
the House speaks anything contrary to the sense 
of the people, or that the representative is silent, 



480 



LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



f 




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when the sense of the constituent, strongly, decid- 
edly, and upon long deliberation, speaks audibly 
upon any topic of moment. If there is a doubt 
whether the House of Commons represents perfectly 
the whole commons of Great Britain, (I think there 
is none,) there can be no question but that the Lords 
and the Commons toj;ether represent the sense of the 
whole people to the crown and to the world. Thus 
it is, wlien we speak legally ard constitutionally. In 
a great measure it is equally true, when we speak 
prudentially. But I do not pretend to assert that 
there are no other principles to guide discretion than 
those which aie or can be fixed by some law or some 
constitution: yet before the legally presumed sense 
of the people should be superseded by a supposition 
of one more real, (as in all cases where a legal pre- 
sumption is to be ascertained,) some strong proofs 
ought to exist of a contrary disposition in the people 
at large, and some decisive indications of their de- 
sire upon this subject. There can be no question, 
that, previously to a direct message from the crown, 
neither House of Parliament did indicate anything 
like a wish for such advances as we have made or 
such negotiations as we have carried on. The Parlia- 
ment has assented to ministry ; it is not ministry that 
has obeyed the impulse of Parliament. Tiie peo- 
ple at large have their organs through which they 
can speak to Parliament and to the crown by a 
respectful petition, and though not with absolute 
authority, yet with weight, they can instruct their 
representatives. The freeholders nnd other electors 
in this kingdom have another and a surer mode of 
expressing their sentiments concerning the conduct 
which is held by members of Parliament. In the 



■hhi 



ss 



LETTEB ni. 



481 



middle of these transactions this last opportunity has 
been held out to them. In all these points of view I 
positively assert that the people have nowhere and in 
no way expressed their wish of throwing themselves 
and their sovereign at the feet of a wicked and ran- 
corous foe, to supplicate mercy, which, from the 
nature of that foe, and from the circumstances of 
affairs, we had no sort of ground to expect. It is 
undoubtedly the business of ministers very much to 
consult the inclinations of the people, but they ought 
to take great care that they do not receive that incli- 
nation from the few persons who may happen to ap- 
proach them. The petty interests of such gentlemen, 
their low conceptions of things, their fears arising 
from the danger to which the very arduous and 
critical situation of public affairs may expose their 
places, their apprehensions from the hazards to which 
the discontents of a few popular men at elections may 
expose their seats in Parliament, — all these causes 
trouble and confuse the representations which they 
make to ministers of the real temper of the nation. 
If ministers, instead of following the great indications 
of the Constitution, proceed on such reports, they 
will take the whispers of a cabal for the voice of the 
people, and the counsels of imprudent timidity for 
the wisdom of a nation. 

I well remember, that, when the fortune of the wa.r 
began (and it began pretty early) to turn, as it is 
common and natural, we were dejected by the losses 
that had been sustained, and with the doubtful issue 
of the contests that were foreseen. But not a word 
was uttered that supposed peace upon any proper 
terms was in our power, or therefore tliat it should 
be in our desire. As usual, with or without reason, 



M 



i( 



482 



LErtfERS ON A BEOICTDE PEACE. 



til 



m 



we criticized the conduct of the war, and compared 
our fortunes with oiir measures. The mass of the 
nation went no further. For I suppose that you al- 
ways understood me as speaking of that very prepon- 
derating part of the nation which had always been 
equally adverse to the French principles and to the 
general progress of their Revolution throughout Eu- 
rope, — considering the final siiccess of their arms 
and the triumph of their principles as one and the 
same thing. 

The first means that were used, by any one profess- 
ing our principles, to change the minds of this party 
upon that subject, appeared in a small pamphlet cir- 
culated with considerable industry. It was common- 
ly given to the noble person himself who has passed 
judgment upon all hopes from negotiation, and justi- 
fied our late abortive attempt only as an experiment 
made to satisfy the country ; and yet that pamphlet 
led the way in endeavoring to dissatisfy that very 
country with the continuance of the war, and to raise 
in the people the most sanguine expectations from 
some such course of negotiation as has been fatally 
pursued. This leads me to suppose (and I am glad 
to have roason for supposing) that there was no foun- 
dation for attributing the performance in question to 
that autlior ; but without mentioning his name in the 
title-page, it pass^ed for his, and does still pass uncon- 
tradicted. It was entitled, " Some Remarks on the 
Apparent Circumstances of the War in tlie Fourth 
Week of October, 1795." 

This sanguine little king's-fisher, (not prescient of 
the storm, as by his instinct he ought to be,) appear- 
ing at that uncertain season before the rigs of old 
Micliiielmas wore yet well composed, and when the 



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inclement storms of winter wore approaching, began 
to flicker over the seas, and was busy in builduig its 
halcyon nest, as if the angry ocean had been soothed 
by the genial breath of May. Very unfortunately, 
this auspice was instantly followed by a speech from 
the throne in the very spirit and principles of that 
pamphlet. 

I say nothing of the newspapers, which are un- 
doubtedly in the interest, and which are supposed by 
some to be directly or indirectly under the influence 
of ministers, and which, with less authority than the 
pamphlet I speak of, had indeed for some tinae before 
held a similar language, in direct contradiction lo 
their more early tone : insomuch that I can speak It 
witli a certain assurance, that very many, who wished 
to administration as well as you and I do, thought, 
that, in giving their opinion in favor of this peace, 
they followed the opinion of ministry ; — they were 
conscious that they did not lead it. My inference, 
therefore, is this : that the negotiation, whatever its 
merits may be, in the general principle and policy of 
undertaking it, is, wliat every political iaeasure in 
general ought to be, the sole work of administration ; 
and that, if it was an experiment to satisfy anybody, 
it was to satisfy those whom the ministers were in the 
daily habit of condemning, and by whom they were 
daily condemned, — I mean the leaders of the opposi- 
tion in Parliament. I am certain that the ministers 
were then, and are now, invested with the fullest con- 
fidence of the major part of the nation, to pursue 
such measures of peace or war as the nature of things 
shall suggest as most adapted to the public safety. 
It is in this light, therefore, as a measure which 
ought to have been avoided and ought not to be re- 



VOL. T. 



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484 



LETIEBS ON ▲ BKOinOB PEACE. 



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peatcd, that I take the liberty of discussing the mer- 
its of this system of Regicide negotiations. It is not 
a matter of' light experiment, that leaves us where it 
found us. Peace or war are tlie great hinges upon 
which the very being of nations turns. Negotiations 
are the means of makuig peace or preventing war, and 
are therefore of more serious importimce than almost 
any single event of war can possibly bo. 

At the very outset, I do not hesitate to affirm, that 
this country in particular, and the public law in gen- 
eral, have suffered more by this negotiation of experi- 
meut than by all the battles together that we have 
lost from the commencement of this century to this 
time, when it touches so nearly to its close. I there- 
fore have the misfortune not to coincide iu opinion 
with the great statesman who set on foot a negotiar 
tion, as lie said, " in spite of the constant opposition 
ho had met with from France." He admits, " that 
the difficulty in this negotiation became most serious- 
ly increased, indeed, by the situation in which we 
were placed, and the manner in which alone the en- 
emy would admit of a negotiation." This situation, 
80 described, and so truly described, rendered our so- 
licitation not only degrading, but from the very out- 
set evidently hopeless. 

I find it asserted, and even a merit taken fo' ii, 
"that this country surmounted every difficrlly •? 
form and etiquette which the enemy had thrown in 
our way." An odd way of surmounting a difficulty, 
by cowering under it! I find it asserted that an 
heroic resolution had been taken, and avowed in Par- 
liament, previous to this negotiation, " that no con- 
sideration of etiquette should stand in the way of it." 
Etiquette, if I understand rightly the term, which 



LETTiai m. 



435 



in any extent is of modern usage, had its original 
application to tliose ceremonial and formal observan- 
ces practised at courts, which had been chtablisliod 
by long usage, in order to preserve the sovereign 
power from the rude intrusion of licentious famil- 
iarity, as well as to preserve majesty itself from a 
disposition to consult its ease at the expense of its 
dignity. The term came afterwards to have a greater 
latitude, and to be employed to signify certain formal 
methods used in the transactions between sovereign 

st&.t6S 

In the more limited, as well as in the larger sense 
of the term, without knowing what the etiquette is, it 
is impossible to determine whether it is a vain and 
cap'ious punctilio, or a form neccshury to preserve 
decorum in character and order in business. I read- 
ily admit that nothing tends to facilitate the issue of 
all public transactions more than a mutual disposition 
in the parties treating to waive all ceremony. But 
the use of this temporary suspension of the recog- 
nized modes of respect consists in its being mutual, 
and in the spirit of conciliation in which all ceremony 
is laid aside. On the contrary, when one of the pax- 
ties to a treaty intrenches himself up to the chui m 
these ceremonies, and will not on his side abate a sm- 
gle punctilio, and that all the concessions are upon 
one siHe only, the party so conceding does by this act 
place himself in a relation of inferiority, and thereby 
fundamentally subverts that equality which is of the 
very essence of all treaty. 

After this formal act of degradation, it was but a 
matter of course that gross insult should be offered 
to our ambassador, and that he should tamely submit 
to it. He found himself provoked to complam of the 



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LETTTEBS ON A. BEOICTDE PEACE. 



atrocious libels against his public character and his 
person which appeared in a paper under the avowed 
patronage of that government. The Regicide Direc- 
tory, on this complaint, did not recognize the paper : 
and that was all. They did not punish, they did not 
dismiss, they did not even reprimand the writer. 
As to our ambassador, this total want of reparation 
for the injury was passed by under the pretence of 
despising it. 

Li this but too serious business, it is not possible 
here to avoid a smile. Contempt is not a thing to 
be despised. It may be borne with a calm and equal 
mind, but no man by liftmg his head high can pre- 
tend that he does not perceive t.ie scorns that are 
poured down upon him from above. All these suii- 
den complaints of injury, and all these deliberate 
submissions to it, are the inevitable consequences 
of the -situation in which we had placed ourselves : a 
situation wherein the insults were such as Nature 
would not enable us to bear, and circumstances 
would not permit us to resent. 

It was not long, however, after this contempt of 
contempt upon the part of our ambassador, (who by 
the way represented his sovereign,) that a new object 
was furnished for displaying sentiments of the same 
kind, though the case was infinitely aggravated. Not 
the ambassador, but the king himself, was libelled 
and insulted, — libelled, not by a creature of the 
Directory, but by the Directory itself. At least, so 
Lord Malmesbury understood it, and so he answered 
it in his note of the 12th November, 1796, in which 
he says, — " With regard to the offensive and injurious 
insinuations which are contained in that paper, and 
which are only calculated to throw new obstacles in 



LETTER in. 



437 



tbe way of the accommodation which the French 
government professes to desire, THE KING HAS 
DEEMED IT FAR BENEATH HIS DIGNITY to 
permit an answer to be made to them on his part, 
in any manner whatsoever." 

1 am of opinion, that, if his Majesty had kept aloof 
from that wash and offscouring of everything that is 
low and barbarous in the world, it might be well 
thought unworthy of his dignity to take notice of 
such scurrilities: they must be considered as much 
the natural expression of that kind of animal as it is 
the expression of the feelings of a dog to bark. But 
when the king had been advised to recognize not on- 
ly the monstrous composition as a sovereign power, 
but, in conduct, to admit something in it like a supe- 
riority, — when the bench of Regicide was made at 
least coordinate with his throne, and raised upon a 
platform full as elevated, this treatment could not be 
passed by under the appearance of despising it. It 
would not, indeed, have been proper to keep up a war 
of the same kind ; but an immediate, manly, and de- 
cided resentment ought to have been the consequence. 
We ought not to have waited for the disgraceful dis- 
missal of our ambassador. There are cases in which 
we may pretend to sleep ; but the wittol rule has some 
sense in it, Non omnibus dormio. We might, however, 
have seemed ignorant of the affront; but what was 
the fact ? Did we dissemble or pass it by in silence ? 
When dignity is talked of, a language which I did not 
expect to hear in such a transaction, I must say, what 
all the world must feel, that it was not for the king's 
dignity to notice this insult and not to resent it. 
This mode of proceeding is formed on new ideas of 
the correspondence between sovereign powers. 






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LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



Tliis was far from the only Ul effect of the policy 
of degradation. The state of inferiority in which we 
were placed, in this vain attempt at treaty, drove us 
headlong from error into error, and led us to wander 
far away, not only from all the paths which have 
been beaten in the old course of political commu- 
nication between mankind, but out of the ways even 
of the most common prudence. Against all rules, 
after we had met nothing but rebuffs in return to 
all our proposals, we made two confidential communi- 
cations to those in whom we had no confidence and 
who reposed no confidence in us. What was worse, 
we were fully aware of the madness of the step we 
were taking. Ambassadors are not sent to a hostile 
power, persevering in sentiments of hostility, to make 
candid, confidential, and amicable communications. 
Hitherto the world has considered it as the duty 
of an ambassador in such a situation to be cautious, 
guarded, dexterous, and circumspect. It is true 
that mutual confidence and common interest dis- 
pense with all rules, smooth the rugged way, re- 
move every obstacle, and make all things plain and 
level. When, in the last century. Temple and De 
Witt negotiated the famous Triple Alliance, their 
candor, their freedom, and the most confidential dis- 
closures were the result of true policy. Accordingly, 
in spite of all the dilatory forms of the complex gov- 
ernment of the United Provinces, the treaty was 
concluded in three days. It did not take a much 
longer time to bring the same state (that of Hol- 
land) through a still more complicated transaction, 
— that of the Grand Alliance. But in the present 
case, this unparalleled candor, this unpardonable 
want of reserve, produced, what might have been 



LBTTEB ni. 



489 



flrnected from it, the most serious evils. It instruc^ 
ed'the en mria the whole plan of our demands and 
onceslns/ It made the most fatal d.scover.^. 

And first, it induced us to lay down the basis of 
a treaty which itself had nothing to rest upon. It 
seems wl thought we had gained a great pomt m 
gXgThis b J. admitted,- that is, a has. of mu- 
Ll compensation and exchange of conques s. If a 
disposition to peace, and with any reasonable assur 
ance, had been previously indicated, such a plan 
7a rangement might with propriety and safe^ be 
nroDosed ; because those arrangements were no , m 
S, to make the b.sis, but a part of ^^^ 
ture of the fabric of pacification. The ordei oi 
th^^s would thus be reversed. The mutual disposi- 
tio'^o peace would form the reasonable base, upon 
wWch tlie scheme of compensation upon one s de or 
&e other might be constructed. This truly funda- 
^ nJd baseiing once laid, all ff--^ ^^^ 
from the spirit of huckstering and barter might be 
easUv adjusted. If the restoration of peace, with a 
:Lttot establishment of a ^ai^ balance oj po^^^^ 
in Europe, had been made the real bass of the rea y, 
the reciprocal value of the compensations could not 
I'e estimated according to their P-PO^- ^^^^^^^ 
other but according to their proportionate relation to 
2^ end : to that great end the whole would be sub- 
servient The effect of the treaty would be m a 
TaniTer secured before the detail of part-la- - 
begun, and for a plain reason, -because the ho^ti^e 
spirit on both sides had been conj red down , but f, 
in the full fury and unappeased rancor of war a lit- 
IZZ is atfempted, it is easy to divine w.a must 
be the consequence to those who endeavor to open 
that kind of petty commerce. 



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440 



LETTERS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



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To illustrate what I have said, I go back no further 
than to the two last Treaties of Paris, aud to the 
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which preceded the first of 
these two Treaties of Pai-is by about fourteeu or fif- 
teen years. I do not moan here to criticize any of 
them. My opinions upon some particulars of the 
Treaty of Paris in 1763 are published in a pamphlet • 
which your recollection will readily bring into your 
view. I recur to them only to show that their basis 
had not been, and never could have been, a mere 
dealing of truck and barier,but that the parties being 
willing, from common fatigue or common sufiering, 
to put an end to a war the first object of which had 
either been obtained or despaired of, the lesser objects 
were not thought worth the price of further contest. 
The parties understanding one another, so much was 
given away without considering from whose budget it 
came, not as the value of the objects, but as the value 
of peace to the parties might require. 

At the last Treaty of Paris, the subjugation of 
America being despaired of on the part of Great 
Britain, aud the independence cf America being 
looked upon as secure on the part of France, the 
main cause of the war was removed; aud then the 
conquesiF which France had made upon us (for we 
had made none of importance upon her) were sur- 
rendered with suflBcient facility. Peace was restored 
as peace. In America the parties stood as they were 
possessed. A limit was to be settled, but settled as a 
limit to secure that peace, and not at all on a system 
of equivalents, for which, as we then stood with the 
United States, there were little or no materials. 

At the preceding Treaty of Paris, I mean that of 

* Obserratious nn a Late State of the Nation. 



LETTEE in. 



441 



1763, there was nothing at all on which to fix a basis 
of compensation from reciprocal cession of conquests 
They were all on one side. The question with us 
was not what we were to receive, and on what con- 
Tideration, but what we were to ke.p for indemnity 
or to ced; for peace. Accordingly, no place being 
left for barter, sacrifices were made on our side to 
ie ; and we surrendered to the French their most 
ratable possessions in the West Indies without aiiy 
equivalenl The rest of Europe fell soon af er into 
Tancient order ; and the German war ended exact. 

\rTrla;':;^l.Chapelle was built upon a 
Jt basis.' AU the conquests in Euioj. l.d been 
made by France. She had subdued the Au trian 
Netherlands, and broken open the gates of Holland^ 
We had taken nothing in the West ^-^ ; -^ ^aP^^ 
Breton was a trifling business indeed. France gave 
up all for peace. The Allies had given up all that 
was ceded U Utrecht. Louis the Fourteenth mad- 
II ortarly all, the cessions at ^^^^ 
N^eguen. In all those treaties, and in all tae pre- 
ce^nfas well as in the others vhich intervened the 
nues L" ever had be.en that of barter. The balance 
Tp wer l^ad been ever assumed as the known com- 
mon law of Europe at all times and by all pov. ers 
Te question had only been (as it must happen) on 
the more or less inclination of 1 ^^ ^;,balance 

This general balance was regarded m four pnnci 
palplfsof view: tbe gheax MinnLK balakcb which 
comprehended Great Britain, France, and Spain , the 
BrANCE OP THE NORTH; the BALANCE, external and 
m'rnal, of G.hmant; and the balance of Italy 
"nn those systems of balance, England was the 



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442 



LETTEBS ON ▲ BEOICIDE PEACE. 



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power to whose custody it was thought it might be 
most safely committed. 

France, as she happened to stand, secured the bal- 
ance or endangered it. Without question, she had 
been long the security for the balance of Germany, 
and, under her auspices, the system, if not formed, 
had been at least perfected. She was so in some 
measure with regard to Italy, more than occasion- 
ally. She had a clear interest in the balance of the 
North, and had endearced to preserve it. But when 
we began to treat with the present France, or, more 
properly, to prostrate ourselves to her, and to try if 
we should be admitted to ransom our allies upon a 
system of mutual concession and compensation, we 
had not one of the usual facilities. For, first, we had 
not the smallest indication of a desire for peace on 
the part of the enemy, but rather the direct contrary. 
Men do not make sacrifices to obtain what they do 
not desire : and as for the balance of power, it was 
80 far from being admitted by France, either on the 
general system, or with regard to the particular sys- 
tems that I have mentioned, that, in the whole body 
of their authorized or encouraged reports and discus- 
sions upon the theory of the diplomatic system, they 
constantly rejected the very idea of the balance of 
power, and treated it as the true cause of all the 
wars and calamities that had afflicted Europe ; and 
their practice was correspondent to the dogmatic 
positions they had laid down. The Empire and 
the Papacy it was their great object to destroy ; 
and this, now openly avowed and steadfastly acted 
upon, might have been discerned with very little 
acuteness of sight, from the very first dawuings of 
the Revolution, to be the main drift of their policy 






LETTER ni. 



448 



for they professed a resolution to destroy everything 
which can hold states together by the tie of opinion 

Exploding, therefore, all sorts of balances, they 
avow their design to erect themselves "'to ^ew 
description of empire, which is not grounded on any 
balance, but forms a sort of impious hierarchy, of 
which Franco is to be the head and the guardia,,. 
The law of this their empire is anything rather than 
the pubH. law of Europe, the ancient cciventions 
of its several staces, or the ancient opinions which 
assiff" ^1' m superiority or preemmence of any 
Z! her kind of connection in virtue of 

anci ^'^''- They permit, and that is all, the 

LI ...tencc of some of the old communities : 

buTwhilst they ..ve to these tolerated s^tes thi. 
temporary respite, in order to secure them m a con 
S of real dependence on themselves they invest 
torn on every L by a body of republics, formed 
on the model, and dependent ostensibly, as well as 
1 tantTally, on the will of the mother republic to 
wWch they owe their origin. These are to be so ma- 
Ijt^ns to check and control the states whic 
Le to be permitted to remain on the old model unti 
tiiey are ripe for a change. It is in this manner that 
Sice on'her new system, means to ^rm an urn- 
versal ;mpire, by producing an ----d ^^^^^ 
By this means, forming a new code of ««"J«^J^^«^ 
according to what she calls the natural rights of man 
Td of states, she pretends to secure eternal peace to 
J^e wor d, guarantied by her generosity and justice 
whidiare to grow with the extent of her power To 
Sk of the balance of power to the governors of such 
a country was a jargon which they -" J -^^^^^^^^ 
stand even tlirou h an mterpreter. Before men can 



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444 



LETTEBS ON ▲ REOiaDE PEACE. 



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■ ' 1.:=: 



transact any affair, thej must have a common lan- 
guage to speak, and som^ common, recomized prin- 
ciples on which they can argue ; otherwise all is 
cross purpose and confusion. It was, therefore, an 
essential preliminary to the whole proceeding, to fix 
whether the balance of power, the liberties and laws 
of the Empire, and the treaties of different belligerent 
powers in past times, when they put an end to hostil- 
ities, were to be considered as the basis of the present 
negotiation. 

The whole of the enemy's plan was known when 
Lord Malmcsbury was sent with his scrap of equiva- 
lents to Paris. Yet, in this unfortunate attempt at 
negotiation, instead of fixing these points, and as- 
suming the balance of power and the peace of Eu- 
rope as the basis to which all cessions on all sides 
were to be subservient, our solicitor for peace was 
directed to reverse that order. He was directed to 
make mutual concessions, on a mere comparison of 
their marketable value, the base of treaty. The bal- 
ance of power was to be thrown in as an induce- 
ment, and a sort of make-weight to supply the mani- 
fest deficiency, which must stare him and the world 
in the face, between those objects which he was to 
reqmre the enemy to surrender and those which he 
had to offer as a fair equivalent. 

To give any force to this inducement, and to 
make it answer even the secondary purpose of equal- 
izing equivalents having in themselves no natural 
proportionate value, it supposed that the enemy, con- 
trary to the most notorious fact, did admit this bal- 
ance of power to be of some value, great or small ; 
whereas it is plain, that, in the enemy's estimate of 
things, the consideration of the balance of power, as 



LETTER m. 



445 



we have said before, was so far from going in dim- 
inution of the value of what the Directory was de- 
eired to surrender, or of giving an additional price 
to our objects offered in exchange, that the hope of 
the utter destruction of that balance became a new 
motive to the junto of Regicides for P^esemng, as a 
means for realizing that hope, what we wished them 

to abandon. • „ tu^ 

Thus stood the basis of the treaty, on laying the 
first stone of the foundation. At the very best, upon 
oui- side, tl' estion stood upon a mere naked bar- 
crain and sal«. Unthinking people here triumphed, 
Then they thougnt they had obtained it; whereas 
when obtained as a basis of a treaty, it was just Ae 
worst we could possibly have chosen. As to our offer 
to cede a most unprofitable, and, indeed beggarly, 
chargeable counting-house or two in the East Indies 
we ought not to presume that they would consider 
this as anything else than a mocker- As to any- 
thins of real value, we had nothing under heaAen to 
offer! (for which we were not ourselves in a very 
dubimis struggle,) except uie island of Martimco on- 
ly When this object was to b-^ weighed against 
the Directorial conquests, merely as an object ot a 
value at market, the principle of barter became 
perfectly ridiculous: a single quarter m the smgle 
city of Amsterdam was worth ten Martinicos, and 
would have sold for many more years' purchase m 
any market overt in Europe. How was this gross 
and glaring defect in the objects of exchange to be 
supphed ? It was to be made up by argument And 
what was that argument? The extreme utility of 
possessions in the West Indies to the augmentation 
o{ the naval power of France. A very cunous topic 



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446 



LETTERS ON A BBOtCIOE PEACE. 



of nr'niment to be proposed and insisted on by an 
ambfa ' lor of Great Britain ! It is directly und 
plainly this: — "Come, we know that of all things 
you wish a naval power, and it is natural you should, 
who wish to destroy the very sources of the British 
greatness, to overpower our marine, to destroy our 
commerce, to eradicate our foreign influence, and to 
lay us open to an invasion, which at one stroke may 
complete our servitude and ruin and expunge us 
from among the nations of the earth. Hero I have 
it in my budget, the infallible arcanum for that pur- 
pose. You are but aovices in the art of naval re- 
sources. Let you have the West Indies back, and 
your maritime preponderance is secured, for which 
you would do well to be moderate in your demands 
upon tlio Austrian Netherlands." 

Under any circumstances, this is a most extraor- 
dinary topic of argume-it' .'it it is rendered by 
much the more unac jouuu*ule, when we are told, 
that, if the war has been diverted from the great 
object of establishing society and good order in Eu- 
rop'. by destroying the usurpation in France, this di- 
version was made to increase the naval resources and 
power of Great Britain, and to lower, if not annihi- 
late, those of the marine of France. I leave all this 
to the very serious reflection of every Englishman. 

This basis was no sooner admitted than the rejec- 
tion of a treaty upon that sole foundation was a thing 
of course. The enemy did not think it worthy of a 
discussion, as in truth it was not ; and immediately, 
as usual, they began, in the most opprobrious and 
most insolent manner, to question our sincerity and 
good faith : whereas, in truth, there was no one symp- 
tom wanting of openness and fair dealing. What 



l\ r? 



LETTEB m. 



447 



could be more fair thau to la^ < ,/>n to an enemy al 
that yon wished to obtain, and the price you meant 
to pay for it, and to desire him to imitate your mgea- 
uois proceeding, and in the same mauner to open h^s 
hones? heart to you ? Here was no 7" °f /'^"^^^^^^^ 
i„K but there was too evidently a fault of another 
Vud: there was much weakness,-thcre was an ea- 
ger and impotent desire of associating with this unso- 
cial pov r, and of attempting the connection by any 
mean^, however manifestly feeble and meffectuaL 
The event was committed to chance, -that . w 
Bucl a manifestation of the desire of France for peace 
Twould induce the Directory to forget the advan- 
Sges they had in the system of barter. Accoidiug^ 
the g-^neral desire for such a ^eaco was i umpharK 
}y repoTted from the moment that Lord mesbui. 
had set his foot on shore at Calais. 

It has been said that the Directory was compe led 
against its will to accept the basis of barter (as f tliat 
had tended to accelerate the work of pacification!) 
by the Vo^ee of all France. Had this been the case 
the Directors would have continued toj-tcn to hat 
voice to which it seems they were so obedient : they 
would have proceeded with the negotiation upon that 
bas^ But the fact is, that they instantly broke up 
tl negotiation, as soon as they had obliged our ^ 
bassador to violate all th nciples of treaty, and 
weakly, rashly, and unguar dly to expose, without 
Iny counter proposition, the whole of our projec 
wiL regard to ourselves and our allies, and withou 
hSng out the smallest hope that they would admit 
the smallest part of our pretensions. 

When they had thus drawn from us all that they 
could draw out, they expelled Lord Malmesbury, and 



m 






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448 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



4 if 



¥ 



they appealed, for the propriety of their conduct, to 
that very France which we thought proper to suppose 
had driven them to this fine concession : and I do not 
find that in either division of the family of thieves, 
the younger branch, or the elder, or in any other 
body whatsoever, there was any indignation excited, 
or any tumult raised, or anything like the virulence 
of opposition which was shown to the king's ministers 
here, on account of that transaction. 

Notwithstanding all this, it seems a hope is still en- 
tertained that the Directory will have that tenderness 
for the carcass of their country, by whose very dis- 
temper, and on whose festering wounds, like vermin, 
they are fed, that these pious patriots will of them- 
selves come into a more moderate and reasonable way 
of thinking and acting. In the name of wonder, 
what has inspired our ministry with this hope any 
more than with their former expectations? 

Do these hopes only arise from continual disap- 
pointment ? Do they grow out of the usual grounds 
of despair ? What is there to encourage them, in the 
conduct or even in the declarations of the ruling pow- 
ers in France, from the first formation of their mis- 
chievous republic to the hour in which I write ? Is 
not the Directory composed of the same junto ? Are 
they not the identical men who, from the base and 
sordid vices which belonged to their original place 
and situation, aspired to the dignity of crimes, — and 
from the dirtiest, lowest, most fraudulent, and most 
knavish of cliicaners, ascended in the scale of robbery, 
sacrilege, and assassination in all its forms, till at last 
they had imbrued their impious hands in the blood 
of their sovereign ? Is it from these men that we are 
to liope for this paternal tenderness to their country. 



SB 



LETTER m. 



449 



and this sacred regard for the peace and happiness of 
all nations ? 

But it seems there is still another lurking hope, 
akin to that which duped us so egregiously before, 
when our delightful basis was accepted: we still 
flatter ourselves that the public voice of France will 
compel this Directory to more moderation. Whence 
does this hope arise ? What public voice is there in 
France ? There are, indeed, some writers, who, since 
this monster of a Directory has obtained a great, reg- 
ular, military force to guard them, are indulged in a 
sufficient liberty of writing ; and some of them write 
well, undoubtedly. But the world knows that in 
France there is no public, — that the country is 
composed but of two descriptions, audacious tyrants 
and trembling slaves. The contests between the ty- 
rants is the only vital principle that can be discerned 
in France. The only thing which there appears like 
spirit is amongst their late associates, and fastest 
friends of the Directory, — the more furious and 
untamable part ( f the Jacobins. This discontented 
member of the faction does almost balance the reign- 
ing divisions, and it threatens every moment to pre- 
dominate. For the present, however, the dread of 
their fury forms some sort of security to their fellows, 
who now exercise a more regular and therefore a 
somewhat less ferocious tyranny. Most of the slaves 
choose a quiet, however reluctant, submission to those 
who are somewhat satiated with blood, and who, like 
wolves, are a little more tame from being a Uttle less 
hungry, in preference to an irruption of the famished 
devourers who are prowling and howling about the 
fold. 
This circumstance assures some degree of perma- 



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LETTERS ON A BEQICIDE PEACE. 



-' ' ^ . ' ., 



nence to the power of those whom we know to be 
permanently our rancorous and implacable enemies. 
But to those very enemies who have sworn our de- 
struction we have ourselves given a further and far 
better security, by rendering the cause of the royal- 
ists desperate. Those brave and virtuous, but un- 
fortunate adherents to thf, ancient Constitution of 
their country, after the miserable slaughters which 
have been made in that body, after all their losses 
by emigration, are still numerous, but unable to ex- 
ert themselves against the force of the usurpation 
evidently countenanced and upheld by those very 
princes who had called them to arm for the support 
of the legal monarchy. Where, then, after chasing 
these fleeting hopes of ours from point to point of the 
political horizon, are they at last really found ? Not 
where, under Providence, the hopes of Englishmen 
used to be placed, in our own courage and in our 
own virtues, but in the moderation and virtue of the 
most atrocious monsters that have ever disgraced 
and plagued mankind. 

The only excuse to be made for all our mendi- 
cant diplomacy is the same as in the case of all 
other mendicancy, namely, that it has been founded 
on absolute necessity. This deserves consideration. 
Neces^sity, as it has no law, so it has no shame. But 
moral necessity is not like metaphysical, or even 
physical. In that category it is a word of loose signifi- 
cation, and conveys different ideas to different minds. 
To the low-minded, the slightest necessity becomes 
an invincible necessity. "The slothful man saith, 
There is a lion in the way, and I shall be devoured in 
the streets." But when the necessity pleaded is not 
in the nature of things, but in the vices of him who 



LGTTEB m. 



451 



f 



alleges it, the whining tones of commonplace beggar- 
ly rhetoric produce nothing but indignation : because 
they indicate a desire of keeping up a dishonorable 
existence, without utility to others, and without dig- 
nity to itself; because they aim at obtaining the dues 
of labor without industry, and by frauds would draw 
from the compassion of others what men ought to owe 
to their own spirit and their own exertions. 

I am thoroughly satisfied, that, if we degrade our- 
selves, it is the degradation which will subject us to 
the yoke of necessity, and not that it is necessity 
which has brought on our degradation. In this same 
chaos, where light and darkness are struggling to- 
gether, the open subscription of last year, with all 
its circumstances, must have given us no little glim- 
mering of hope : not (as I have heard it was vainly 
discoursed) that the loan could prove a crutch to a 
lame negotiation abroad, and that the whiff and wind 
of it must at once have disposed the enemies of all 
tranquillity to a desire for peace. Judging on the 
face of facts, if on them it had any effect at all, it had 
the direct contrary effect; for very soon after the 
loan became public at Paris, the negotiation ended, 
and our ambassador was ignominiously expelled. My 
view of this was different : I liked the loan, not from 
the influence which it might have on the enemy, but 
on account of the temper which it indicated in our 
own people. This alone is a consideration of any 
importance; because all calculation formed upon a 
supposed relation of the habitudes of others to our 
own, under the present circumstances, is weak and 
fallacious. The adversary must be judged, not by 
what we are, or by what we wish him to be, but by 
what we must know he actually is : unless we choose 



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TjrCTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



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to shut our fcyes and our ears to the uniform tenor of 
all his discourses, and to his uniform course in all 
his actions. We may be deluded; but we cannot 
pretend that we have been disappointed. The old 
rule of Ne te qwvnveria extra is a precept as avail- 
able in policy as it is in morals. Let us leave off 
speculating upon the disposition and the wants of the 
enemy. Let us descend into our own bosoms ; let 
us ask ourselves what are our duties, and what are 
our means of discharging them. In what heart are 
you at home? How far may an English minister 
confide in the affections, in the confidence, in the 
force of an English people ? What does he find us, 
when he puts us to the proof of what English interest 
and English honor demand ? It is as furnishing an 
answer to these questions that I consider the circum- 
stances of the loan. The effect on the enemy is not 
in what he may speculate on our resources, but in 
what he shall feel from our arms. 

The circumstances of the loan have proved beyond 
a doubt three capital points, which, if they are prop- 
erly usee!, may be advantageous to the future liberty 
and happiness of mankind. In the first place, the 
loan demonstrates, in regard to instrumental resour- 
ces, the competency of this kingdom to the asser- 
tion of the common cause, and to the maintenance 
and superintendence of that which it is its duty and 
its glory to hold and to watch over, — the balance 
of power throughout the Christian world. Secondly, 
it brings to light what, under the most discouraging 
appearances, I always reckoned on : that, with its 
ancient physical force, not only unimpaired, but aug- 
mented, its ancient spirit is still alive in the British 
nation. It proves that for their application there is 



!tr 



LEflTEB in. 



458 



|i 



a spirit equal to the resources, for its energy above 
them. It proves that there exists, though not always 
visible, a spirit which never fails to come forth, when- 
ever it is ritually invoked,— a spirit which will give 
no equivocal response, but such as will hearten the 
timidity and fix the irresolution of hesitating pru- 
dence,— a spirit which will be ready to perform all 
the tasks that shall be imposed upon it by public hon- 
or. Thurdly, the loan displays an abundant confi- 
dence in his Majesty's government, as administered 
by his present servants, in the prosecution of a war 
which the people consider, not as a wtu- made :n the 
suggestion of ministers, and to answer the purposes 
of the ambition or pride of statesmen, but as a war 
of their own, and in defence of that very property 
which they expend for its support,— a war for that 
order of things Irom which everything valuable that 
they possess is derived, and m which order alone it 
can possibly be maiiitained. 

I hear, in derogation of the value of the fact from 
which I draw inf.^reuces so favorable to the spirit of 
the people and lo its just expectation from ministers, 
that the eighteen million loan is to be considered in 
no other light than as taking advantage of a very 
lucrative bargain held out to the subscribers. I do 
not in ti .h believe it. All the circumstances which 
attended the subscription strongly spoke a different 
language. Be it, however, as these detractors say. 
This with me derogates VMiz, or rather nothing at all, 
from the political value and importance of the favit. 
I should be very sorry, if the transaction was not such 
a jargain ; otherwise it would not have been a fair 
one. A corrupt and improvident loan, like every- 
thing else corrupt or prodigal, cannot be too much 



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LETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



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condemned ; but there is a short-sighted pai : imony 
still more fatal than au unforeseeing expense. The 
value of money must be judged, like everything else, 
from its rate at market. To force that market, or 
any market, is of all things the most dangerous. For 
a small temporary benefit, tlie spring of all public 
credit might bo relaxed forever. The moneyed men 
have a right to look to advantage in the investment 
of their property. To advance their money, they risk 
it; and the risk is to be included in the price. If 
they were to incur a loss, that loss would amount to 
a tax on that peculiar species of property. In effect, 
it would be the most unjust and impolitic of all 
things, — unequal taxation. It would throw upon 
one description of persons in thv, community that 
burden which eight by fair and equitable distribu- 
tion to rest upon the whole. None on account of 
their dignity should be exempt; none (preserving 
due proportion) on account of the scantiness of their 
means. The moment a man is exempted from the 
maintenance of the community, he is in a sort sepa- 
rated from it, — he loses the place of a citizen. 

So it is in all taxation. But in a bargain, when 
terms of loss are looked for by the borrower from the 
lender, compulsicn, or what virtually is compulsion, 
introduces itself into the place of treaty. When com- 
pulsion may be at all used by a state in borrowing 
the occasion must determine. But the compulsion 
ought to be known, and well defined, and well dis- 
tinguished; for otherwise treaty only weakens the 
energy of compulsion, while compulsion destroys the 
freedom of a bargain. The advantage of both is lost 
by the confusion of things in their nature utterly un- 
sociable. It would be to introduce compulsion into 



LBTTFB ni. 



455 



that in which freedom and existence are the same: I 
mean credit. The moment that shame or fear or 
force are directly or indirectly applied to a loan, cred- 
it perishes. . 

There must be some impulse, besides public spint, 
to put private interest into motion along with it. 
Moneyed men ought to be allowed to set a value on 
their money : if they did not, there could be no mon- 
eyed men. This desire of accumulation is a pnnci- 
Dle without which the means of their service to the 
state could not exist. The love of lucre, though 
sometimes carried to a ridiculous, sometimes to a 
vicious excess, is the grand cause of prosperity to all 
states. In this natural, this reasonable, this powerful, 
this prolific principle, it is for the satirist to expose 
the ridiculous,-it is for the moralist to censure the 
vicious, — it is for the sympathetic hea'.o to reprobate 
the hard and cruel, -it is for the judge to ammad- 
vert on the fraud, the extortion, and the oppression ; 
but it is for the statesman to employ H as he finds it, 
with all its concomitant excellencies, with all its im- 
perfections on its head. It is his part, in this case, as 
it is in all other cases, where he is to make use of 

the general energies of Nature, to take them as he 

finds them. 

After all, it is a great mistake to imagine, as too 
commonly, almost indeed generally, it is imagined, 
that the public borrower and the private lender are 
two adverse parties, with different and contending 
interests, and that what is given to the one is wholly 
taken from the other. Constituted as our system of 
finance and taxation is, the interests of the contractmg 
par-ties cannot well be separated, whatever they may 
reciprocally intend. He who is the hard lender of to- 



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LETTKBS ON A BEGICIOB PEACE. 



day to-morrow is the generous contributor to his own 
payment. For example, the last loan is raised on 
public taxes, which are designed to produce annually 
two millions sterling. At first view, this is an annui- 
ty of two millions dead charge upon the public in fa- 
vor of certain moneyed men ; but inspect the thing 
more nearly, follow the stream in its meanders, and 
you Will find that there is a good deal of fallacy in 
this state of things. 

I take it, that whoever considers any man's expen- 
diture of his income, old or new, ( I speak of certaui 
classes in life,) will find a full third of it to go in 
taxes, direct or indirect. If so, this new-created in- 
come of two millions will probably furnish 665,000^. 
(I avoid broken numbers) towards the payment of 
its own interest, or to the sinking of its own capi- 
tal. So it is with the whole of the public debt. Sup- 
pose it any given sum, it is a fallacious estimate of 
the affairs of a nation to consider it as a mere bur- 
den. To a degree it is so without question, but not 
wholly so, nor anything like it. If the income from 
the interest be spent, the above proportion returns 
again into the public stock; insomuch that, taking 
the interest of the whole debt to be twelve million 
three hundred thousand pound, (it is something 
more,) not less than a sum of four million one hun- 
dred thousand pound comes back again to the public 
through the chaimel of imposition. If the whole 
or any part of that income be saved, so much new 
capital is generated, — the infallible operation of 
which is to lower the value of money, and conse- 
quently to conduce towm-ds the improvement of pub- 
lic credit. 

I take the expenditure of the capitalist, not the 



LEtTEB m. 



45T 



I ■! ' 



Talue of the capital, as my standard; because it is 
the standard upon which, amongst us, property, as 
an object of taxation, is rated. In this country, land 
and oflSces only excepted, we raise no faculty tax. 
We preserve the faculty from the expense. Our 
taxes, for the far greater portion, fly over the lieads 
of the lowest classes. They escape too, who, with 
better ability, voluntarily subject themselves to the 
harsh discipline of a rigid necessity. With us, labor 
and frugality, the parents of riches, are spared, and 
wisely too. The moment men cease to augment the 
common stock, the moment they no longer enrich it 
by their industry or their self-denial, their luxury 
and even their ease are obliged to pay contribution 
to the public; not because they are vicious princi- 
ples, but because they are unproductive. If, in fact, 
the interest paid by the public had not thus revolved 
again into its own fund, if this secretion had not 
again been absorbed into the mass of blood, it would 
have been impossible for the nation to have existed 
to this time under such a debt. But under the debt 
it does exist and flourish ; and this flourishing state 
of existence in no small degree is owing to the con- 
tribution from the debt to the payment. Whatever, 
therefore, is taken from that capital by too close a 
bargain is but a delusive advantage : it is so much 
lost to the public in another way. This matter can- 
not, on the one side or the other, be metaphysically 
pursued to the extreme ; but it is a consideration 
of which, in all discussions of this kmd, we ought 
never wholly to lose sight. 

It is never, therefore, wise to quarrel with the in- 
terested views of men, whilst they are combined with 
the public interest and promote it : it is our business 



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LETTEBS ON A BBQICIDE PEACK. 



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to tie the knot, if possible, closer. Resources that ore 
derived from extraordinary virtues, as such virtues 
are rare, so they must be unproductive. It is a good 
thing for a moneyed man to pledge his property on 
the welfare of his country : he shows that he places 
his treasure where his heart is; and revolving in 
this circle, we know, that, " wherever a man's treas- 
ure is, there his heart will be also." For these rea- 
sons, and on these principles, I have been sorry to 
see the attempts which have been made, with more 
good meaning than foresight and consideraticu, to- 
wards raising the annual interest of this loan by pri- 
vate contributions. Wherever a regulur revenue is 
established, there voluntary contribution can answer 
no purpose but to disorder and disturb it in its 
course. To recur to such aids is, for so mujh, to 
dissolve the community, and to return to a state 
of unconnected Nature. And even if such a supply 
should be productive in a degree commensurate to 
its object, it must also be productive of much vexa- 
tion and much oppression. Either the citizens by 
the proposed duties pay their proportion according 
to some rate made by public authority, or they do 
not. If the law be well made, and the contributions 
founded on just proportions, everything superadded 
by something that is not as regular as law, and as 
uniform in its operation, will become more or less 
out of proportion. If, on the contrary, the law be 
not made upon proper calculation, it is a disgrace 
to the public wisdom, which fails in skill to assess 
the citizen in just measure and according to his 
means. But the hand of authority is not always the 
most heavy hand. It is obvious that men may be 
oppressed by many ways besides those which take 



LETTKB ni. 



469 



their course from the supreme power of tlie state. 
Suppose the paymout to be wholly discretionary. 
Whatever has its origin in caprice is sure not to 
improve in its progress, uor to end iu reason. It is 
impossible for each private individual to have any 
measure conformable to the particular condition of 
each of his fellow-citizens, or to the general exigen- 
cies of his country. 'Tis a random shot at best. 

When men proceed in this irregular mode, the 
first contributor is apt to grow peevish with his neigh- 
bors. He is but too well disposed to measure theu- 
means by his own envj, and not by the real state of 
their fortunes, which he can rarely know, and which 
it may in them be an act of the grossest imprudence 
t > reveal. Hence the odium and lassitude with which 
people will look . pon a provision for the public which 
is bought by discord at the expense of social quiet. 
Hence the bitter heart-burnings, and the war of 
tongues, which is so often the prelude to other wars. 
Nor is it every contribution, called voluntary, which 
is according to the free wiU of the giver. A false 
shame, or a false glory, against his feelings and his 
judgment, may tax an individual to the detriment 
of his family and in wrong of his creditors. A pre- 
tence of public spirit may disable him from the per- 
formance of his private duties ; it may disabl« him 
even from paying the legitimate coutributu > i 

he is to furnish according to the prescript -*• 

But what is the most dangerous of all is that malig- 
nant disposition to which this mode of contribution 
evidently tends, and which at length leaves the com- 
paratively indigent to judge of the wealth, and to 
prescribe to the opulent, or those whom they con- 
ceive to be such, the use they are to make of theu- 



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LETTEB8 ON ▲ KEtilCIDE PEACE. 



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fortunes. From thence it is but one stop to ihe sub* 
Tersion of all property. 

Far, very far, am I from supposing that such 
things enter into the purposes of those excellent per- 
sons whose zeal has led them to this kind of meas- 
ure; but the measure itself will lead them beyond 
their intention, and what is begun with the best de- 
f ' fns bad men will perversely improve to the worst 
of their purposes. An li! founded plausibility in 
great affairs is a real evil. In France we have seen 
the wickedest and most foolish of m^n, the constitu- 
tion-mongers of 1789, pursuing this very course, and 
ending in this very event. These projectors of decep- 
tion set on foot two modes of voluntary contribution 
to the state. The first they called patriotic gifts. 
These, for the greater part, were not more ridiculous 
in the mode than contemptible in the project. The 
other, which they called the patriotic contribution, 
was expected to amount to a fourth of the fortunes 
of individuals, but at their own will and on their 
own estimate; but this contribution threatening to 
fall infinitely short of their hopes, they soon made 
it compulsory, both in the rate and in the levy, be- 
ginning in fraud, and ending, as all the frauds of 
power end, in plain violence. All these devices to 
produce an involuntary will were under the pretext 
of relieving the ' re indigent classes ; but the prin- 
ciple of voluntary contribution, however delusive, be- 
ing once established, these lower classes first, and 
then all classes, were encouraged to throw off the 
regular, methodical payments to the state, as so 
many badges of slavery. Thus all regular revenue 
failing, these impostors, raising the superstructure on 
the same cheats with which they had laid the fouuda- 



i\\ 



LETTER in. 



161 



tion of tholr greatness, and not content with a pop- 
Hon of the possessions of the rich, confiscated the 
whole, and, to prevent them fh)m reclaiming their 
right", murdered the proprietors. The whole of the 
process has passed before our eyes, and been con- 
ducted, indeed, with a greater degree of rapidity 
than could be expected. 

My opinion, then, is, that public contributions 
ought only to be raised by the public will By the 
judicious form of our Constitution, the public con- 
tribution is in its name and substance a grant. In 
it-^ origin it is tnily voluntary : not voluntary ac- 
cording to the irregular, unsteady, capricious will of 
individuals, but according to the will and wisdom of 
the whole popular mass, in the only way in which 
will and wisdom can go togother. This voluntary 
grant obtaining in its progress the fo .e of a law, 
a general necessitv, which takes away all merit, and 
consequently all jealousy from individuals, compress- 
es, equalizes, and satisfies the whole, suffering no man 
to judge of his neighbor or to arrogate anything to 
himself. If their will complies with their obligation, 
the great end is answered in the happier*, mode ; 
if the will resists the burden, every one loses a great 
part of his own will as a common lot. After all, 
periiaps, contributions raised by a charge on luxu- 
ry, or that degree of convenience which approaches 
so' near as to be confounded with luxury, is the on- 
ly mode of contribution which may be with truth 
termed voluntary. 

I might rest here, and take the loan 1 speak of as 
leading to a solution of that question which I pro- 
posed in ray first letter : « Whether the inability of 
the country to pro> «cute the war did necessitate a 



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LETTERS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



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submission to the indignities and the calamities of 
a peace with the Regicide power?" But give me 
leave to pursue this point a little further. 

I know that it has been a cry usual on this occa- 
sion, as it has been upon occasions where such a cry 
could have less apparent justification, that great dis- 
tress and misery have been the consequence of this 
war, by the burdens brought and laid upon the peo- 
ple. But to know where the burden really lies, 
and where it presses, we must divide the people. 
As to the common people, their stock is in their per- 
sons and in their earnings. I deny that the stock of 
their persons is diminished in a greater proportion 
than the common sources of populousness abundantly 
fill up : I mean constant employment ; proportioned 
pay according to the produce of the soil, and, where 
the soil fails, according to the operation of the gen- 
eral capital ; plentiful nourishment to vigorous labor ; 
comfortable provision to decrepit age, to orphan in- 
fancy, and to accidental malady. I say nothing to 
the policy of the provision for the poor, in all the va- 
riety of faces under which it presents itself. This is 
the matter of another inquiry. I only just speak of 
it as of a fact, taken with others, to support me in my 
denial that hitherto any one of the ordinary sources 
of the increase of mankind is dried up by this war. 
I affirm, what I can well prove, that the waste has 
been less than the supply. To say that in war no 
man must be killed is to say that there ought to be no 
war. This they may say who wish to talk idly, and 
) would display their humanity at the expense of 
their honesty or their understanding. If more lives 
are lost in this war than necessity requires, they are 
lost by misconduct or mistake ; but if the hostility bo 



li 



LEfRES m. 



468 



just, the error is to be corrected, the war is not to be 
abandoned. 

That the stock of the common people, in numbers, 
is not lessened, any more than the causes are im- 
paired, is manifest, without being at the pains of an 
actual numeration. An improved and improvmg 
agriculture, which implies a great augmentation of 
labor, has not yet found itself at a stand, no, not for 
a single moment, for want of the necessary hands, 
either in the settled progress of husbandry or ir. the 
occasional pressure of harvests. I have even reason 
to believe that there has been a much smaller impor- 
tation, or the demand of it, from a neighboring king- 
dom, than in former times, when agriculture was 
more limited in its extent and its means, and when 
the time was a season of profound peace. On the 
contrary, the prolific fertility of country life has 
poured its superfluity of population into the canals, 
and into other public works, which of late years have 
been undertaken to so amazing an extent, and which 
have not only not been discontinued, but, beyond all 
expectation, pushed on with redoubled vigor, in a war 
that calls for so many of our men and so much of our 
riches. An increasing capital calls for labor, and an 
increasing population answers to the call. Our man- 
ufactures, augmented both for the supply of foreign 
and domestic consumption, reproducing, with the 
means of life, the multitudes which they use and 
waste, (and which many of them devour much more 
surely and much more largely than the war,) have 
always found the laborious hand ready for the liberal 
pay. That the price of the soldier is highly raised 
is true. In part this rise may be owing to some 
measures not so well considered in the beginning of 



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LETTEBS ON A BEGICTDB PEACE. 



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this war; but the grand cr.'.xse has been the reluc- 
tance of that class of people from whom the soldiery 
is taken to enter into a military life, — not that, but, 
once entered into, it has its conveniences, and even 
its pleasures. I have seldom known a soldier who, 
at the intercession of his friends, and at their no 
small charge, had been redeemed from that disci- 
pline, that in a short time was not eager to return to 
it again. But the true reason is the abundant oc- 
cupation and the augmented stipend found in towns 
and villages and farms, which leaves a smaller 
number of persons to be disposed of. The price of 
men for new and untried ways of life must bear a 
proportion to the profits of that mode of existence 
from whence they are to be bought. 

So far as to the stock of the common people, as it 
consists in their persons. As to the other part, which 
consists in their earnings, I have to say, that the rates 
of wages are very greatly augmented almost through 
the kingdom. In the parish where I live it has been 
raised from seven to nine shillings in the week, for 
the same laborer, performing the same task, and no 
greater. Except something in the malt taxes and 
the duties upon sugars, I do not know any one tax 
imposed for very many years past which affocts the 
laborer in any degree whatsoever; while, on the 
other hand, the tax upon houses not having more 
than seven windows (that is, upon cottages) was 
repealed the very year before the commencement of 
the present war. On the whole, I am satisfied that 
the humblest class, and that class which touches the 
most nearly on the lowest, out of which it is contin- 
ually emerging, and to which it is continually falling, 
receives far more from public impositions than it pays. 



LETTER m. 



465 



That class receives two million sterling annually from 
the classe above it. It pays to no such amount to- 
wards any public contribution. 

I hope it is not necessary for me to take notice of 
that language, so ill suited to the persons to whom it 
has been attributed, and so unbecoming the plac3 in 
which it is said to have been uttered, concerning the 
present war as the cause of the high price of provis- 
ions during the greater part of the year 1796. I 
presume it is only to be ascribed to the intolerable 
license with which the newspapers break not only 
the rules of decorum in real life, but even the dra- 
matic decorum, when they personate great men, and, 
like bad poets, make the heroes of the piece talk more 
like us Grub-Street scribblers than in a style con- 
sonant to persons of gravity and importance in the 
state. It was easy to demonstrate the cause, and 
the sole cause, of that rise in the grand article and 
first necessary of life. It would appear that it had 
no more connection with the war than the moderate 
price to which all sorts of grain were reduced, soon 
after the return of Lord Malmesbury, had with tho 
state of politics and the fate of his Lordship's treaty. 
I have quite as good reason (that is, no reason at all) 
to attribute this abundance to the longer continuance 
of the war as the gentlemen who personate leading 
members of Parliament have had for givmg the en- 
hanced price to that war, at a more early period of 
its duration. Oh, the folly of us poor creatures, who, 
in the midst of our distresses or our escapes, are ready 
to claw r>r caress one another, upon matters that so 
seldom v -lend on our wisdom or our weakness, on 
our good or evil conduct towards each other! 
An untimely shower or an unseasonable drought, 



I' 



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VOL. v. 



30 



■niMM 



BS^ 



466 



LETTEBS OS A BEOICIDB PEACE. 



I i 






a frost too long continued or too suddenly broken up 
with rain and tempest, the bli^'ht of the spring or the 
smut of the harvest will do more to cause the distress 
of the belly than all the contrivances of all statesmen 
can do to relieve it. Let government protect and en- 
courage industry, secure property, repress violence, 
and discountenance fraud, it is all that they have to 
do. In other respects, the less they meddle in these 
affairs, the better; the rest is in the hands of our 
Master and theirs. We are in a constitution of things 
wherein ^^ modo sol nimius, modo corripit imber." — 
But I will push this matter no further. As I have 
said a good deal upon it at various times during my 
public service, and have lately written something on 
it, which may yet see the light, I shall content myself 
now with observing that the vigorous and laborious 
cl-ss of life has lately got, from the bon-ton of the hu- 
manity of this day, the name of the " laboring poor." 
We have heard many plans for the relief of the " la- 
boring poor." This puling jargon is not as innocent 
as it is foolish. In meddling with great affairs, weak- 
ness is never innoxious. Hitherto the name of poor 
(in the sense in which it is used to excite compassion) 
has not been used for those who can, but for those 
who cannot labor, — for the sick and infirm, for or- 
phan infancy, for languishing and decrepit age ; but 
when we affect to pity, as poor, tl.ose who must labor 
or the world cannot exist, we are trifling with the con- 
dition of mankind. It is the common doom of uian, 
that he must eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, 
—that is, by the sweat of his body or the sweat of his 
mind. If this toil was inflicted as a curse, it is, as 
might be expected, from the curses of the Father of 
all blessings ; it is tempered with many alleviations, 



LETTER ni. 



4CT 



many comforts. Every attempt to fly from it, and to 
refuse the very terms of our existence, becomes much 
more truly a curse ; and heavier pains and penalties 
fall upon those who would elude the tasks which are 
put upon them by the great Master Workman of the 
world, who, in His dealings with His creatures, sympa- 
thizes with their weakness, and, speaking of a creation 
wrought by mere will out of nothing, speaks of six 
days of labor and one of re»t. I do not call a healthy 
young man, cheerful in his mind and vigorous in his 
arms, I cannot call such a man poor; I cannot pity 
my kind as a kind, merely because they are men. 
This affected pity only tends to dissatisfy them with 
their condition, and to teach them to seek resources 
where no resources are to be found, in somethi' a; else 
than their own industry and frugality and oty. 

Whatever may be the intention (which, bee . do 
not know, I cannot dispute) of ihose who wo. i dis- 
content mankind by this strange pity, they act to- 
wards us, in the consequences, as if they were our 
worst enemies. 

In turning our view from the lower to the higher 
classes, it will not be necessary for me to show at any 
length that the stock of the latter, as it consists in 
their numbers, has not yet sutfered any material 
diminution. I have not seen or heard it asserted ; 
I have no r 'to believe it : there is no want of 
officers, th^ a-e ever understood, for the new 

ships which . commission, the new regiments 
which we raise. In the nature of things, it is not 
with their persons that the higher classes principally 
pay their contingent to the demands of war. There 
is another, and not less important part, which rests 
with almost exclusive weiglit upon them. They fur- 
nish the means. 



'y 

m 



468 



LETTEBS ON A BEQICIDE PEACE. 



w 



\m 






'l 



"how War may, best upheld, 
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold. 
In all her eqaipat^" 

Not that they are exempt from contributing also by 
their personal service in the fleets and armies of their 
country. They do contribute, and in their full and 
fair proportion, according to the relative proportion of 
tlieir numbers in the community. They contribute 
all the mind that actuates the whole machine. The 
fortitude required of them is very different from the 
unthinking alacrity of the common soldier or com- 
mon sailor in the face of danger and death : it is not 
a passion, it is not an impulse, it is not a sentiment ; 
it is a cool, steady, deliberate principle, always pres- 
ent, always equable, — having no connection with 
anger, — tempering honor with prudence, — incited, 
invigorated, and sustained by a generous love of 
fame, — informed, moderated, and directed by an 
enlarged knowledge of its own great public ends, — 
flowing in one blended stream from the opposite 
sources of the heart and the head, — carrying in it- 
self its own commission, and proving its title to ev- 
ery other command by the first and most difficult 
command, that of the bosom in which it resides : it 
is a fortitude which unites with the courage of the 
field the more exalted and refined courage of the 
council, — which knows as well to retreat as to ad- 
vance, — which can conquer as well by delay as by 
the rapidity of a march or the impetuosity of an at- 
tack,— which can be, with Fabius, the black cloud 
that lowers on the tops of the mountains, or, with 
Scipio, the thunderbolt of war,— which, undismayed 
by false shame, can patiently endure the severest 
trial that a gallant spirit can undergo, in the taunts 



LETTEB m. 



469 



and provocations of the enemy, the suspicions, the 
cold respect, and " mouth honor " of those from 
whom it should meet a cheerful obedience,— which, 
undisturbed by false humanity, can calmly assume 
that most awful moral responsibility of deciding when 
victory may be too dearly purchased by the loss of a 
single life, and when the safety and glory of their 
country may demand the certain sacrifice of thou- 
sands. DiflFerent stations of command may call for 
diflferent. modifications of this fortitude, but the char- 
acter ought to be the same in all. And never, in the 
most "palmy state" of our martial renown, did it 
slune with brighter lustre than in the present san- 
guinary and ferocious hostilities, wherever the Brit- 
ish arms have been carried. But in this most ardu- 
ous and momentous conflict, which from its nature 
should have roused us to new and unexampled ef- 
forts, I know not how it has been that we have never 
put forth half the strength which we have exerted 
in ordinary wars. In the fatal battles which have 
drenched the Continent with blood and shaken the 
system of Europe to pieces, we have never had any 
considerable army, of a magnitude to be compared 
to the least of those by which in former times we so 
gloriously asserted our place as protectors, not op- 
pressors, at the head of the great commonwealth of 
Europe. We have never manfully met the danger in 
front ; and when the enemy, resigning to us our natr 
ural dominion of the ocean, and abandoning ihe do- 
fence of his distant possessions to the infernal ener- 
gy of the destroying principles which he had planted 
there for the subversion of the neighboring colonies, 
drove forth, by one sweeping law of unprecedented 
despotism, his armed multitudes on every side, to 



n'A 



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i 



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i. 



470 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIOE PEACE. 



W\ i 



V} 



/! I 



overwhelm the countries and states which had for 
centuries stood the firm barrierti against the ambi- 
tion of France, we drew back the arm of our mil- 
itary force, which had never been more than half 
raised to oppose him. From that time we have been 
combating only with the other arm of our naval pow- 
er, — the right arm of England, I admit, — but which 
struck almost unresisted, with blows that could never 
reach the heart of the hostile mischief. From that 
time, without a single effort to regain those outworks 
which ever till now we so strenuously maintained, as 
the strong frontier of our own dignity and safety no 
less than the liberties of Europe, — with but one fee- 
ble attempt to succor those brave, faithful, and nu- 
merous allies, whom, for the first time since the days 
of our Edwards and Henrys, we now have in the 
bosom of France itself, — we have been intrenching 
and fortifying and garrisoning ourselves at home, we 
have been redoubling security on security to protect 
ourselves from invasion, which has now first become 
to us a serious object of alarm and terror, Alas! 
the few of us who have protracted life in any meas- 
ure near to the extreme limits of our short period 
have been condemned to see strange things, — new 
systeuis of policy, new principles, and not only new 
men, but what might appear a new species of men. 
I beli«'ve that any person wlio was of age to take a 
part in public affairs forty years ago (if the interme- 
diate space of time were expunged from his memory) 
would hardly credit his sen ,'s, when he should hear 
from the highest authority that an army of two hun- 
dred thousand men was kept up in this island, and 
tlut in the neighboring island there were at least 
fourscore thousand more. But when he had recov- 



I i 



LETTEB in. 



471 



ered from his surprise on being told of this army, 
which has not its parallel, what must be his aston- 
ishment to be told again that this mighty force was 
kept up for the mere purpose of an inert and pas- 
sive defence, and that in its far greater part it waa 
disabled by its constitution and very essence from 
defending us against an enemy by any one preyenl. 
ive stroke or any one operation of active hostility? 
What must his reflections be, on learning further, 
that a fleet of five hundr-T men of war, the best ap- 
pointed, and to the full as ably commanded as this 
country ever had upon the sea, was for the greater 
part emploved in carrying on the same system of 
unenterprising defence? What must be the senti- 
ments and feelings of one who remembers the foi> 
mer energy of England, when he is given to under- 
stand that these two islands, with their extensive 
and everywhere vulnerable coast, should be consid- 
ered as a garrisoned sea-town? What would such 
a man, what would any man think, if the garrison 
of so strange a fortress should be such, and so feebly 
commanded, as never to make a sally, -and that, 
contrary to all which has hitherto been seen m war, 
an infinitely inferior army, with the shattered relics 
of an almost annihilated navy, ill-found and ill- 
manned, mav with safety besiege this superior gar- 
rison, and, without hazarding the life of a man, ruin 
the place, merely by the menaces and false appear- 
ances of an attack ? Indeed, indeed, my dear friend, 
I look upon this matter of our defensive system as 
much the most important of all considerations at 
this moment. It has oppressed me ^ith many anx- 
ious thoughts, which, more than any bodily distem- 
per have sunk me to the condition m which you 



, 



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'^mmmmm^mmmmmm 



rli Vj 



472 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



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know that I am. Should it please Providence to 
restore to me even the late weak remains of my 
strength, I propose to make this matter the subject 
of a particular discussion. I only mean here to ar- 
gue, that the mode of conducting the war on our 
part, be it good or bad, has prevented even the com- 
mon havoc of war in our population, and especially 
among that class whoso duty and privilege of supe- 
riority it is to lead the way amidst the perils and 
slaughter of the field of battle. 

The other causes which sometimes afifect the num- 
bers of the lower classes, but which I have shown not 
to have existed to any such degree during this war, 
— penury, cold, hunger, nakedness, — do not easily 
reach the higher orders of society. I do not dread 
for them the slightest taste of these calamities from 
the distress and pressure of the war. They have 
much more to dread in that way from tlie confis- 
cations, the rapines, the burnings, and the massa- 
cres that may follow in the train of a peace which 
shall establish the devastating and depopulating prin- 
ciples and example of the French Regicides in se- 
curity and triumph and dominion. In the ordinary 
course of human affairs, any check to population 
among men in ease and opulence is less to be ap- 
prehended from what they may suffer than from 
what they enjoy. Pea^e is more likely to be inju- 
rious to them in that respect tlian war. The ex- 
cesses of delicacy, repose and satiety are as unfa- 
vorable as the extremes of hardship, toil, and want 
to the increase and multiplication of our kind. In- 
deed, the abuse of the bounties of Nature, much 
more surely than any partial privation of tliem, 
tends to intercept that precious boon of a second 



nam 



■MiilHjiittMMMB 



jmi 



LETTEB m. 



473 



and dearer life in our progeny, which was bestowed 
in the first great commniid to rain from the All-Gra- 
cious Giver of all, — whose name bo blessed, whether 
He gives or takes away ! His hand, in every page 
of His book, has written the lesson of moderation. 
Our physical well-being, our moral worth, our social 
happiness, our political tranquillity, all depend on 
that control of all our appetites and passions which 
the ancients designed by the cardinal virtue of tentr 

perance. 

The only real f\uestion to our present purpose, 
with regard to the higher classes, is, How stands the 
account of their stock, as it consists in wealth of 
every description? Have the burdens of the war 
compelled them to curtail any part of their former 
expenditure? — which, I have before observed, af- 
fords the only standard of estimating property as 
an object of taxation. Do they enjoy all tlic same 
conveniences, the same comforts, the same elegan- 
cies, the san.e luxuries, in the same or in as many 
different modes as they did before the war? 

In the last eleven years there have been no less 
than three solemn inquiries into the finances of 
the kingdom, by three different committees of your 
House. The first was in the year 1786. On that 
occasion, I remember, the report of the committee 
was examined, and sifted and bolted to the bran, by 
a gentler^an whose keen and powerful talents I have 
ever admired. e thought there was not sufficient 
evidence to warrant the pleasing representation which 
the committee had made of our national prosperity. 
He did not believe that our public revenue could 
continue to be so productive as they had assumed. 
He even went the length of recording his own in- 
ferences of doubt in i set of resolutions wliich now 



«• 



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i 



'J 

> 13 









474 



LETTERS ON A BEQICrOE PEACE. 



I' -1 



•tand upon your journals. And perliaps the retro- 
spect on which the report proceeded did not go far 
enough back to allow any sure and satisfactory aver- 
age for a ground of solid calculation. But what was 
the event? When the next committee sat, in 1791, 
they found, that, on an average of the last four years, 
their predecessors had fallen short, in their estimate 
of the permanent taxes, by more than three hundred 
and forty thousand pounds a year. Surely, then, if 1 
can show, that, in 'he produce of those same taxes, 
and more particularly of such as affect articles of 
luxurious use and consumption, the four years of the 
war have equalled those four years of peace, flourish- 
ing as they were beyond the most sanguine specula- 
tions, ' -^ny expect to hear no more of the distress 
occp the war. 

The ' burdens which have been laid on 

some of u. articles might reasonably claim 

some allowance to be made. Every new advance of 
the price to the consumer is a new incentive to him 
to retrench the quantity of his consumption ; and if, 
upon the whole, he pays the same, his property, com- 
puted by the standard of what he voluntarily pays, 
must remain the same. But I am willing to forego 
that fair advantage in the inquiry. I am willing that 
the receipts of the permanent taxes which existed be- 
fore January, 1793, should be compared during the 
war, and during the period of peace which I have 
mentioned. I will go further. Complete accounts 
of the year 1791 were separately laid before your 
House. I am ready to stand by a comparison of the 
produce of four years up to the beginning of the 
year 1792 with that of the war. Of the year imme- 
diately previous to hostilities I have not been able 
to obtain any perfect documents; but I have seen 



mM 



mm 






LETTEB m. 



475 



enough to eatisfy me, that, although a compariBOU 
including that year might be less favorable, yet it 
vrould not essentially injure my argument. 

You will always bear in mind, my dear Sir, that 1 
am not considering whether, if the common enemy 
of the quiet of Europe had not forced us to take up 
arms in our own defence, the spring-tide of our pros- 
perity might not have flowed higher than the mark 
at which it now stands. That consideration is con- 
nected with the question of the justice and the neces- 
sity of the war. It is a question whicb I have long 
since discussed. I am now endeavoring to ascertain 
whether there exists, in fact, any such necessity as 
we hear every day asserted, to furnish a miserable 
pretext for counselling us to surrender at discretion 
our conquests, our honor, our dignity, our very inde- 
pendence, and, with it, all that is dear to man. It 
will be more than sufficient for that purpose, if I can 
make it appear tliui we have been stationary during 
the war. What, then, will be said, if, in reality, it 
shall be proved that there is every indication of in- 
creased and increasing wealth, not only poured into 
the grand reservoir of the national capital, but dif- 
fused through all the channels of all the higher 
classes, and giving life and activity, as it passes, to 
the agriculture, the manufactures, the commerce, 
and the navigation of the country ? 

The Finance Committee which has been appointed 
in this session has already made two reports. Every 
conclusion that I had before drawn, as you know, 
from my own observation, I have the satisfaction 
of seeing there confirmed by that great public au- 
thority. Largo as was t' e sum by which the com- 
mittee of 1791 found the estimate of 1786 to have 
been exceeded in the actual produce of four years 



I 
ilf 
















476 



UrTTEBS ON A BEQICIDE PEALI!. 



4! l!. 



'S di 



of peace, their own estimate has been exceeded dur- 
ing the war by a sum more than one third larger. 
The same taxes have yielded more than half a mil- 
lion beyond their calculation. They yielded this, not- 
withstanding the stoppage of the distilleries, against 
which, you may remember, I privately remonstrated. 
With an allowance for that defalcation, they have 
yielded sixty thousand pounds annually above the 
actual average of the preceding four years of peace. 
I believe this to have been without parallel in all 
former wars. If regard be had to the great and im- 
avoidable burdens of the present war, I am confident 
of the fact. 

But let us descend to particulars. The taxes which 
go by the general name of Assessed Taxes compre- 
hend the whole, or nearly the whole, domestic estab- 
lishment of the rich. They include some things which 
belong to the middling, and even to all but the very 
lowest classes. They now consist of the duties on 
houses and windows, on male servants, horses, and 
carriages. They did also extend to cottages, to fe- 
male servants, wagons, and carts used in husbandry, 
previous to the year 1792, — when, with more en- 
lightened policy, at the moment that the possibility 
of war could not be out of the contemplation of any 
statesman, the wisdom of Parliament confined them 
to their present objects. I shall give the gross as- 
sessment for five years, as I find it in the Appendix 
to the Second Report of your committee. 

1791 ending 6th April 1792 .... £1,706,334 

1792 1793 1,585,991 

1793 1794 1,597,623 

1794 1795 1,608,196 

1796 1796 1,625,874 



ti 



s-i 



mam 



LKTTEB m. 



477 



Here will be seen a gradual increase during the 
whole progress of the war; and if I am correctly 
informed, the rise in the last year, after every de- 
duction that can be made, affords the most consol- 
ing and encouraging prospect. It is enormously out 
of all proportion. 

There are some other taxes which seem to have 
a reference to the same general head. The present 
minister many years ago subjected bricks and tiles 
to a duty under the excise. It is of little conse- 
quence to our present consideration, whether these 
materials have been employed in building more com- 
modious, more elegant, and more magnificent hab- 
itations, or in enlarging, decorating, and remodel- 
ling those which sufficed for our plainer ancestors. 
During the first two years of the war, they paid so 
largely to the public revenue, that in 1794 a new 
duty was laid upon them, which was equal to one 
half of the old, and which has produced upwards of 
165,000?. in the last three years. Yet, notwithstand- 
ing the pressure of this additional weight,* there has 
been an actual augmentation in the consumption. 

• This and the following tables on the same construction are com- 
piled from the Reports of the Finance Committee in 1791 and 1797, 
with the addition of the separate paper laid before the House of Com. 
mens, and ordered to be printed, on the 7th of February, 1792. 



BRICKS AND TILES. 



Yean of Peace. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



94,521 
. 96,278 
. 91,773 
■ 104,409 

£386,981 



Years of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 



£ 

. 122,975 
. 106,811 
. 83,804 
. 94,668 

£408,258 



1791 . £115,382 4Year8tol791 £407,842 



Inerean to 1790 
£21,277. 

Increase to 1791 
£416. 






ft 

4'i 



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i* ! 



478 



LETTERS ON A BEGICIDE PEACE. 



The only two other articles which come under this 
description are the stampniuty on gold and silver 
plate, and the customs on glass plates. Tliis latter 
is now, I believe, the single instance of costly fur- 
niture to be found in the catalogue of our imports. 
If it were wholly to vanish, I should not think we 
were ruined. Both the duties have risen, during the 
war, very considerala/ in proportion to the total of 
their produce. 

We have no tay lii^ )ng us o; the most necessary 
articles of food. The receipts of our Custom-House, 
under the head of Groceries, afford us, however, some 
means of calculating our luxuries of the table. The 
articles of tea, coffee, and cocoa-nuts I would pro- 
pose to omit, and to take them instead from the ex- 
cise, as best showing what is consumed at home. 
Upon this principle, adding them all together, (with 
the exception of sugar, for a reason which I shall 
afterwards mention,) I find that they have produced, 



TeanofPeaoe. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



£ 

22,707 

. 23,295 

. 22,453 

. 18,433 

£86,888 



PLATE, 

Tears of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 , 



. 25,920 

. 23,637 

. 25,607 

. 28,513 

£ 103,677 



1791 . .£81,523 4 Tears to 1791 £95,704 



IncresM to 1T90 
£ 16,789. 

locreaw to 1791 
£ 7,973. 



tJ *>■'■ 



TeanofPeaoe. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



6,496 

4,686 

. 6,008 

£ 16,190 



GLASS PLATES. 

I Tean of War. £ 

- ' 1793 . . 5,655 

1794 . . 6,456 

1795 . . 6,839 

1796 . . 8,871 



£25,821 



.m^. -_ -^ Inereaae to 1T91 

1791 . . £7,880 4 Years to 1791 £24,070 £1,751. 



LETTER m. 



479 



in one mode of comparison, upwards of 272,000?., 
and in the other mode upwards of 165,000?., more 
during the war than in peace.* An additional duty 
was also laid in 1795 on tea, another on coffee, and 
a third on raisins, — an article, together with cur- 
rants, of much more extensive use than would read- 
ily be imagined. The balance in favor of our argu- 
ment would have been much enhanced, if our coffee 
and fruit ships from the Mediterranean had arrived. 



Tean of Peace. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



1791 



A 
167,389 
133,191 
142,871 
156,311 



• GROCERIES. 



A 
. 124,655 
. 195,840 
. 208,242 
. 159,826 

£599,762 i i 688,563 

.je236,727 4 Years to 1791 dE669,100 



17 . 
1796 



Increase to 1790 
jE 88,801. 

Increase to 1791 
£ 19,463. 



Yean of Peace. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



£ 

424,144 
426,660 
539,575 
. 417,736 

£1,808,115 



TEA. 

Tears of War. 
1793 . 
17''4 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 



£ 
477,644 
467,132 
. 507,518 
. 626,307 

£1,978,601 



Increase to 1790 
£ 170,486. 

Increase to 1791 
£ 145,921. 



1791 . .£448,709 4 Years to 1791 £1,832,680 
The additional duty imposed in 1795 produced in that year 
1.37,656?., and in 1796, 200,107/. 



COFFEE AND COCOA-NUTS. 



Years of Peace. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



£ 
17,006 
. 30,217 
, 34,784 
. 38,647 

£120,654 



Years of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 
1795 
1796 . 



£ 

36,846 
. 49,177 
- 27,913 

19,711 

£ 133,647 



Increase to 1790 
£12,993. 

Decrease to 1791 
£11,195. 



1791 . .£41,194 4Year8tol791 £144,842 
The additional duty of 1795 in that year gave 16,775/., and in 
1796, 15,319/. 



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iii 



480 



LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



last year, at their usual season. They do not appear 
in these accounts. This was one consequence arising 
(vrould to God that none more afflicting to Italy, to 
Europe, and the whole civilized world had arisen !) 
from ciwv impolitic and precipitate desertion of that 
important maritime station. As to su^ar,* I have 
excluded it from the groceries, because the account 
-y? the customs is not a perfect criterion of the con- 
sumption, much having been reexported to the North 
of Europe, which used to be supplied by France ; and 
in the official papers which I have followed there are 
no materials to furnish grounds for computing this 
reexportation. The incaase on the face of our en- 
tries is immense t^.aring the four years of wai, — lit- 
tle short of thirteen hundred thousand pounds. 

The increase of the duties on beer has been reg- 
ularly progressive, or nearly so, to a very large 
amount f It is a good deal above a million, and is 



Tears of Peace. 
1787 
1788 . 
1789 
1790 



£ 

1,065,109 

1,184,458 

1,095,106 

. 1,069,108 

£4,413,781 



• SUGAR. 

I Tears of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

ir- . 

1796 . 



£ 
1,473,139 
1,392,965 
1,338,246 
. 1,474,899 

£ 5,679,249 



Increase to 1790 
£1,265,468. 
Increase to IT91 
1791 . £1,044,053 4Year8 to 1791 £4,392,725 £1,286,524. 

There was a new daty on sugar in 1791, which produced in 17^4 
234,292/., in 1795, 206,932/., and in 1796, 245,024/. It is not clear 
fh>m the report of the committee, whether the additional duty is in- 
cluded in the account given above. 



Yean of Peace. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



£ 

1,761,429 

1,705,199 

1,742,514 

. 1,858,043 

£7,067,185 



t BEER, &c. 
Y'are of War. 

1793 . . 

1794 . . 

1795 . . 

1796 . . 



£ 
. 2,043,902 
. 2,082,053 
. 1,931,101 
. 2,294,377 

£8,351,433 



1791 . £1,880,478 4 Yewi to 1791 £7,186,234 



Increase to 1700 
£1,284,248. 
Increase to 1791 
£ 1,165,199. 



LETTER III. 



481 



more than equal to one eighth of the whole prodnce. 
Under this general head some other liquors are in- 
cluded, — cider, perry, and mead, as well as vinegar 
and verjuice ; but these are of very trifling considera- 
tion. The excise duties on wine, having sunk a little 
during the first two years of the war, were rapidly 
recovering their level again. In 1795 a heavy addi- 
tional duty was imposed upon them, and a second in 
the following year; yet, being compared with four 
years of peace to 1790, they actually exhibit a small 
gain to the revenue. And low as the importation may 



Yean of Pe-.:e. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



£ 
. 219,934 
. 215,578 
. 252,649 
. 308,624 

£ 996,785 



WINE. 

Tears of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 



£ 
222,887 
. 283,644 
. 317,072 
. 187,818 

£1,011,421 



1791 . .£336,549 4Teareto 1791 £1,113,400 
QUANTITY IMPORTED. 



Tears of Peace. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



Tuns. 
22,978 
25,442 
27,414 
29,182 



Tear* of War. 

1793 

1794 

1795 

1796 



Increase to 1790 

£ 14,636. 

Decrease to lltl 

£ 101,979. 



Tuna. 

22,788 

27,868 

32,033 

19,0''9 



The additional duty of 1795 produced that year 736,871/., and in 

1796, 432,689/. A second additional duty, which produced 98,165/. 

was laid in 1796. 

SWEETS. 

Years of Peace. £ Tears of War. £ 

1787 . . 11,167 1793 . . ll,01ti 

1788 . . 7,375 1794 . . 10,612 

1789 . • 7,202 179S . . 13,321 

1790 . . 4,953 1796 . . 15,050 



£30,697 



£49,999 



Increase to ITDO 
£19,302. 

Ineieasa to ITtl 
£17,187. 



1791 . .£13,282 4 Tear* to 1791 £32,812 
In 1795 an additional duty was Iwd on this article, which produced 
that year 5,679/., and in 1796, 9,443/. ; and in 1796 a second, to com- 
mence on the 20th of June : iu produce in that year was 2,325/. 
VOL. v. 31 



I 

I ' 
( 



»'l 



t 



I 

!) 



■SEE 



saz 



482 



LETTEUS ON A REGICIDE PEACK. 



seem in 1796, when contrasted with any year since 
the French treaty in 1787, it is still more than 3000 
tuns above the average importation for three years 
previous to that period. I have added sweets, from 
which our factitious wines are made; and I would 
have added spirits, but that the total alteration of the 
duties in 1789, and the recent interruption of our dis- 
tilleries, rendered any comparison impracticable. 

The ancient staple of our island, in which we are 
clothed, is very imperfectly to be traced on the books 
of the Custom-House : but I know that our woollen 
manufactures flourish. I recollect to have seen that 
fact very fully established, last year, from the regis- 
ters kept in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This 
year, in the West of England, I received a similar 
account, on the authority of a respectable clothier in 
that quarter, whose testimony can less be questioned, 
because, in his political opinions, he is adverse, as I 
understand, to the continuance of the war. The 
principal articles of female dress for some time past 
have been muslins and calicoes.* These elegant fab- 
rics of our own looms in the East, which serve for 
the remittance of our own revenues, have lately been 
imitated at home, with improving success, by the 
ingenious and enterprising manufacturers of Man- 
chester, Paisley, and Glasgow. At the same time 
the importation from Bengal has kept pace with the 

• MUSLINS AND CALICOES. 



Tem of Peace. 


i, 


Years of War. 


£ 




1788 . 


. 129,297 


1793 . 


. 173,050 




1789 . 


. 138,660 


1794 . 


. 104,902 




1790 . 


. 126,267 


1795 . 


. 103,857 




1791 . 


. 128,365 


1796 . 


. 272,544 


Increaw to 1791 




jC 522,589 




£654,353 


X 131,764. 



This table begins with 1788. The net produce of the preceding 
year is not in the report whence the toble is taken. 



LETTER m. 



483 



extension of our own dexterity and industry ; while 
the sale of our printed goods,* of both kinds, has been 
with equal steadiness advanced by the taste and execu- 
tion of our designers and artists. Our woollens and 
cottons, it is true, are not all for the home market. 
They do not distinctly prove, what is my present point, 
our own wealth by our own expense. I admit it: 
we export them in great and growing quantities: 
and they who croak themselves hoarse about the de- 
cay of our trade may put as much of this account 
as they choose to the creditor side of money received 
from other countries in payment for British skill and 
labor. They may settle the items to their own liking, 
where all goes to demonstrate our riches. I shall be 
contented here with whatever they will have the good- 
ness to leave me, and pass to another entry, which is 
less ambiguous, — I mean that of silk.f The manu- 



• PRINTED GOODS. 



Tears of Peace. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



. 142,000 

. 154,486 

. 153,202 

. 167.156 

£616,844 



Tears of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 



. 191,566 

. 190,554 

. 197,416 

. 230,530 

£810,066 



Increaae to 1790 
£ 193,222. 

Increase to 1T91 
£ 143,733. 



1791 . .£191,489 4 Tears to 1791 £666,333 
TheM -inties for 1787 are blended with several others. T^ • pro- 
portion of printed goods to the other articles for four years was found 
to be one fourth. That proportion is here taken. 



Tears of Peace. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



£ 
. 166,912 
. 123,998 
. 157,730 
. 212,522 

£661,162 



\ SILK. 

Tears of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 



£ 

. 209,915 
. 221,306 
. 210,725 
. 221,007 

£862,953 



1791 . .£279,128 4 Years to 1791 £773,378 



Incmte to 1790 
£201,791. 

Increaae to 1791 
£89,575. 



il 



1. 



^ 



MaMMMMMOBritoHMttdE'' * ■.J' 



484 



LETTERS ON A BEOICIDE lEACB. 



I 



'*'■■ 



] 






H 

i-r. 

iJ: 



'' !^ 



I i| 



i 
■ l- -J 



factory itself is a forced plant. We have been obliged 
to guard it from foreign competition by very strict 
prohibitory laws. What we import is the raw and 
prepared material, which is worked up in various 
ways, and worn in various shapes by both sexes. 
After what we have just seen, you will probably be 
surprised to learn that the quantity of silk imported 
during the war has been much greater than it was 
previously in peace ; and yet we must all remember, 
to our mortification, that several of our silk ships fell 
a prey to Citizen Admiral Richery. You will hardly 
expect me to go through the tape and thread, and all 
the other small wares of haberdashery and millmery 
to be gleaned up among our imports. But I shall 
make one observation, and with great satisfaction, 
respecting them. They gradually diminish, as our 
own manufactures of the same description spread into 
their places ; while the account of ornamenta articles 
which our country does not produce, and we cannot 
wish it to produce, continues, upon the whole, to rise, 
in spite of all the caprices of fancy and fashion. Of 
this kind are the different furs* used for muffs, trim- 
mings, and linings, which, as the chief of the kind, I 
shall particularize. You will find them below. 
The diversions of the higher classes form another 



Vesn of Peace. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



£ 

3,464 

. 2,958 

. 1,151 

. 3,328 

jC 10,901 



• FUB8. 

Teui of Wu. 
1793 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 



A 
. 2,829 
. 3,353 
. 3,666 
. 6,138 

£15,986 



Incieaie lo ITM 
je 5,085. 

Inereaie to 1791 
£2,818. 



1791 . . JE5,731 4 Tears to 1791 £13,168 

The skins here selected from the Cnstom-Honse accounts are, Black 

Bear, Ordinary Fox, Marten, Mink, Muiquash, Otter, Raccoon, and Wolf. 



-jssmmmmmim 



mmmi 






LETTER III. 



485 



and the only remaining head of inquiry into their 
expenses : I mean those diversions which distinguish 
the country and the town life, — which are visible and 
tangible to the statesman, — which have some public 
measure and standard. And here, when I look to 
the report of your committee, I, for the first time, 
perceive a failure. It is clearly so. Whichever way 
I reckon the four years of peace, the old tax on the 
sports of the field has certainly proved deficient since 
the war. The same money, however, or nearly the 
same, has been paid to government, — though the 
same number of individuals have not contributed to 
the payment. An additional tax was laid in 1791, 
and during the war has produced upwards of 61,000Z., 
which is about iOOOl. more ti, u the decrease of the 
old tax, in one scheme of comparison, and about 
4000Z. less, in the other scheme. I might remark, 
that the amount of the new tax, in the several years 
of the war, by no means bears the proportion which 
it ought to the old. There seems to be some great 
irregularity or other in the receipt. But I do not 
think it worth while to examine mto the argument. 
I am willing to suppose that many, who, in the idle- 
ness of peace, made war upon partridges, hares, and 
pheasants, may now carry more noble arms against 
the enemies of their country. Our political adversa- 
ries may do what they please with that concession. 
They are welcome to make the most of it. I am sure 
of a very handsome setroS in the other branch of ex- 
pense, — the amusements of a town life. 

There is much gayety and dissipation and profusion 
which must escape and disappoint all the arithmetic 
of political economy. But the theatres are a prom- 
inent feature. They are established through every 
pait of the kingdom, at a cost unknown till our days. 






I 



ti 



tJt^*" 



486 



LETTEBS ON A BEOiaDE PEACE. 



ii t 



In 



li 



There is hardly a provincial capital which does not 
possess, or which docs not aspire to possess, a theatre- 
royal. Most of them engage for a short time, at a 
vast price, every actor or actress of name in the me- 
tropolis : a distinction which in the reign of my old 
friend Garrick wa? confined to very few. The dress- 
es, the scenes, the corations of every kind, I am 
told, are in a new Sb^ie of splendor and magnificence : 
whether to the advantage of our dramatic taste, upon 
the whole, I very much doubt. It is a show and a 
spectacle, not a play, that is exhibited. This is xm- 
doubtedly in the genuine manner of the Augustan 
age, but in a manner which was censured by one of 
the best poets and critics of that or any age : — 

Migrarit ab aare voluptai 
Omnia ad inoertoi oculos, et gauuia vana : 
Quatuor ant plnres aulxa premuntur in horas, 
l)um fugiunt equitam turmn, peditumque caterva ; — 

I must interrupt the passage, most fervently to dep- 
recate and abominate the sequel: — 

Moz trahitur manibus regam fortuna retortii. 
I hope that no French fraternization, which the rela- 
tions of peace and amity with systematized regicide 
would assuredly sooner or later draw after them, 
even if it should overturn our happy Constitution 
itself, could so change the hearts of Englishmen as 
to make them delight in representations and pro- 
cessions which have no other merit than that of de- 
grading and insulting the name of royalty. But 
good taste, manners, morals, religion, all fly, wher- 
ever the principles of Jacobinism enter ; and we have 
no safety against them but in arms. 

Tlie proprietors, whether in this they follow or lead 
what is called the town, to furnish out these gaudy 
and pompous entertainments, must collect so much 



ritaOM 



aMMMii 



LETTEB in. 



487 



more from the public. It was but just bp'jre the 
breaking out of hostilities, that they levied for them- 
selves the very tax which, at the close of the Ameri- 
can war, they represented to Lord North as certain 
ruin to their affairs to demand for tlic state. The 
example has since been imitated by the managers 
of our Italian Opera. Once during the war, if not 
twice, (1 would not willingly misstate anything, but 
I am not very accurate on these subjects,) they have 
raised the price of their subscription. Yet I have 
never heard that any lasting dissatisfaction has been 
manifested, or that their houses have been unusually 
and constantly thin. On the contrary, all the three 
theatres have been repeatedly altered, and refitted, 
and enlarged, to make them capacious of the crowds 
that nightly flock to them ; and one of those huge 
and lofty piles, which lifts its broad shoulders in gir 
gantic pride, almost emulous of the temples of God, 
has been reared from the foundation at a charge of 
more than fourscore thousand pounds, and yet re- 
mains a naked, rough, unsightly heap. 

I am afraid, my dear Sii, lat I have tired you 
with these dull, though important details. But we 
are upon a subject which, like some of a higher na- 
ture, refuses ornament, and is contc ited with con- 
veying instruction. I know, too, the obstinacy of 
unbelief in those perverted minds which have no 
delight but in contemplating the supposed distress 
and predicting the immediate ruin of their country. 
These birds of evil presage at all times have grated 
our ears with their melancholy song ; and, by some 
strange fatality or other, it has generally happened 
that they have poured forth their loudest and deepest 
lamentations at the periods of our most abundant 
prosperity. Very early in my public life I had oc- 



U 



! - 



488 



LETTERS ON A BEOICIDB PEACE. 



iP.i 



i 



\\\ ' 



I 4' 

1! t' 



!> ; 



casion to make myself a little acquainted with tbeir 
natural history. My first political tract in the col- 
lection which a friend has made of my publications 
is an answer to a very gloomy picture of the state 
of the nation, which was thought to have been drawn 
by a statesman of some eminence in his time. That 
was no more tlian the common spleen of disaj^inted 
ambition: in the present day I fear that too many 
are actuated by a more malignant and dangerou? 
spirit. They hope, by depressing our minds with 
a despair of our means and resources, to drive us, 
trembling and unresisting, into the toils of our ene- 
mies, with whom, from the beginning of the Revolu- 
tion in France, they have ever moved in strict con- 
cert and cooperation. If, with the report of your 
Finance Committee in their handt, they can still 
affect to despond, and can still succeed, as tln:y do, 
in spreading the contagion of their pretended fears 
among well-disposed, though weak men, there is no 
way of counteracting them, but by fixing them down 
to particulars. Nor must we forget that they are 
unwearied agitators, bold assertors, dexterous so{)his- 
ters. Proof must be accumulated upon proof, to si- 
lence them. With this view, I shall now direct your 
attention to some other striking and unerring indi- 
cations of our flourishing condition ; and they will, 
in general, be derived from other sources, but equal- 
ly authentic: from other reports and proceedings 
of both Houses of Parliament, all which unite with 
wonderful force of consent in the same general re- 
sult. Hitherto we have seen the superfluity of our 
capital discovering itself only in procuring superflu- 
ous accommodation and enjoyment, in our houses, 
in our furniture, in our establishments, in our eating 
and drinking, our clothing, and our public diversions : 



J it; , 



■ i; 



LETTER in. 



489 



we shall now seo it more benefic'allv 'oyed in im- 
proving our territory itself: wo sin part of our 
present opulence, with provv" • ' cart, put out to usu- 
ry for posterity. 

To *hat ultimate extent it may be wise or practi- 
cable to push inclosures of common and waste lands 
may bo a question of doubt, in some points of view : 
but no person thinks tliem already carried to excess ; 
and the relative magnitude of the sums laid out upon 
them gives us a standard of estimating the compara- 
tive situation of the landed interest. Your House, 
this session, appointed a committee on waste lands, 
and they have made a report by their chairman, an 
honorable baronet, for whom the minister the other 
day (with very good intentions, I believe, but with 
little real profit to the public) thought fit to erect 
a board of agriculture. The account, as it stands 
there, appears sufficiently favorable. The greatest 
number of inclosing bills passed in any one year of 
the last peace does not equal the smallest annual 
number m the war, and those of the last year exceed 
by more than one half the highest year of peace. 
But what was my surprise, on looking into the late 
report of the Secret Committee of the Lords, to find 
a list of these bills during the war, diflFering in every 
year, and* larger on the whole by nearly one third ! 

• Report of the Lords' Committee of Secrecy, ordered to be printed 
28th April, 1797, Appendix 44. 

INCLOSURE BILLS. 



TeanofPesM 

1789 . 

1790 . 

1791 . 

1792 . 



33 
25 
40 
40 

188 



Tean of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 



60 
74 
77 
72 

283 



( I 



MMMK 



■MM 



490 



LETTEBS ON A BEOICIDE PEACE. 



I havo checked this account by the statute-book, and 
find it to be correct. What new brilliancy, then, 
does it throw over the prospect, bright as it was be- 
fore! The number during the last four years has 
more than doubled that of the four years immedi- 
ately preceding; it has surp-^ssed the five years of 
peace, beyond which the Lords' committees have not 
gone ; it has even siirpassed ( I have verified the 
fact) the whole ten years of peace. I cannot stop 
here. I cannot advance a single step in this inquiry 
without being obliged to cast my eyes back to the 
period when I first knew the country. These bills, 
which had begun in the reign of Queen Anne, had 
passed every year in greater or less numbers from 
the year 1723 ; yet in all that space of time they bad 
not reached the amount of any two years during the 
present war; and though soon after that time they 
rapidly increased, still at the accession of his present 
Majesty they were far short of the number passed 
in the four years of hostilities. 

In my first letter I mentioned the state of our 
inland navigation , neglected as it had been from the 
reign of King William to the time of my observation. 
It was not till the present reign that the Duke of 
Bridgewater's canal first excited a spirit of specula- 
tion and adventure in this way. This spirit showed 
itself, but necessarily made no great progress, in the 
American war. When peace was restored, it began 
of course to work with more sensible efiect ; yet in 
ten years from that event the bills passed on that 
subject were not so many as from the year 1793 to 
the present session of Parliament. From what I can 
trace on the statute-book, I am confident that all the 
capital expended in these projects during the peace 



fi » i' 






■ fi t iipia f 



LETTER m. 



491 



bore no degree of proportion (I doubt, on very grave 
consideration, whether all that was ever so expended 
was equal) to the money which has been raised for 
the same purposes since the war.* I know that in 
the last four years of peace, when they rose regularly 
and rapidly, the sums specified in the acts were not 
near one third of the subsequent amount. In the 
last session of Parliament, the Grand Junction Com- 
pany, as it is called, having sunk half a million, (of 
which I feel the good effects at my own door,) ap- 
plied to your House for permission to subscribe half 
as much more among themselves. This Grand Junc- 
tion is an inosculation of the Grand Trunk ; and in 
the present session, the latter company has obtained 
the authority of Parliament to float two hundred 
acres of land, for the purpose of forming a reservoir, 
thirty feet deep, two hundred yards wide at the head, 
and two miles in length : a lake which may almost 
vie with that which once fed the now obliterated 
canal of Languedoc. 

The present war is, above all others of which we 
have heard or read, a war against landed property. 
That description of property is in its nature the firm 
base of every stable government, — and has been so 
considered by all the wisest writers of the old phi- 
losophy, from the time of the Stagyrite, who observes 
that the agricultural class of all others is the least 

• NAVIGATION AND CANAL BILLS. 



TtMiofPMwe. 

1789 . . 

1790 . . 

1791 . . 

1792 . . 


. . 3 
. . 8 
. . 10 
. . 9 


Yean of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 


... 28 
... 18 
... 11 
... 12 


[oner raised . A 


30 
,2,377.200 . . 




69 
jC 7,415,100 



J 

,1 

If 



ss 



mmmmm 



-t>' 



492 



LETTERS ON A REGICIDE PEACE. 



1^ 



u 



i 

•ill 



inclined to sedition. "We find it to have been bo 
regarded in the practical politics of antiquity, where 
they are brought more directly home to our under- 
standings and bosoms in the history of Rome, and 
above all, in the writings of Cicero. Tlie country 
tribes were always thought more respectable than 
those of the city. And if in our own history there is 
any one circumstance to which, under God, are to be 
attributed the steady resistance, the fortunate issue, 
and sober settlement of all our struggles for liberty, 
it is, that, while the lauded interest, instead of form- 
ing a separate body, as in other countries, has at all 
times been in close connection and union with the 
other great interests of the country, it has been spon- 
taneously allowed to lead and direct and moderate 
all the rest. I cannot, therefore, but see with sin- 
gular gratification, that, during a war which has been 
eminently made for the destruction of the landed 
proprietors, as well as of priests and kings, as much 
has been done by public works for the permanent 
benefit of their stake in this country as in all the rest 
of the current century, which now touches to its 
close. Perhaps after this it may not be necessary to 
refer to private observation ; but I am satisfied that in 
general the rents of lands have been considerably in- 
creased : they are increased very considerably, indeed, 
if I may draw any conclusion from my own little 
property of that kind. I am not ignorant, however, 
where our public burdens are most galling. But all 
of this class will consider who they are that are prin- 
cipally menaced, — how little the men of their de- 
Bcription in other countries, where this revolutionary 
fury has but touched, have been found equal to their 
own protection, — how tardy and unprovided and full 
of anguish is their flight, chained down as they are by 



e&.-±-. 



t^m^ij^r* * W i ' i <■■ 



LETTEB in. 



498 



every tie to the soil,— how helpless they are, above 
all other men, in exile, in poverty, in need, in all the 
varieties of wretchedness ; and then let them well 
weigh what are the burdens to which they ought 
not to submit for their own salvation. 

Many of the authorities which I have already ad- 
duced, or to which I have referred, may convey a 
competent notion of some of our principal manufac- 
tures. Theu- general state will be clear from that of 
our external and internal commerce, through which 
they circulate, and of which they are at r-ce the 
cause and effect. But the communication of the sev- 
eral parts of the kingdom with each other and with 
foreign countries has always been regarded as one of 
the most certain tests to evince the prosperous or ad- 
verse ;ate of our trade in all its branches. Recourse 
h .- \ My been had to the revenue of the Post- 
C n zc th this view. I shall include the product 
o. il ox which was laid in the last war, and which 
wiw mate the evidence more conclusive, if it shall af- 
ford the same inference : I allude to the Post-Horse 
duty, which shows the personal intercourse within 
the kingdom, as the Post-Office shows the intercourse 
by letters both within and without. The first of 
these standards, then, exhibits an increase, accord- 
ing to my former schemes of comparison, from an 
eleventh to a twentieth part of the whole duty.* 



TsmofPiMoe. 

1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 



• POST-HORSE DUTY. 
Te»ri of WiT 



. 169,410 

. 204,659 

. 170,554 

. 181,155 

£725,778 



1793 
1794 
1795 
1796 



. 191,488 

, 202,884 

. 196,691 

. 204,061 

£795,124 



1791 . .£198,634 4 Yean to 1791 £755,002 



Ineieue to 1790 
£69,346. 

InercMe to 1791 
£40,122. 



'tr. 

M 



msBS& 



•mmm 



494 



LETTEH3 ON A BEGICTOE PEACE. 



'I ^' 




^ ^ ' i^ 



The PostrOffice ^ves still less consolation to those 
who are miserable in proportion as the country feels 
no misery. From the commencement of the war to 
the month of April, 1796, the gross produce had in- 
creased by nearly one sixth of the whole sum which 
tho state now derives from that fund. I find that 
the year erding 6th of April, 1793, gave 627,592^., 
and the year ending at the same quarter in 1796, 
750,637?., after a fair deduction having been made 
for the alteration (which, you know, on grounds of 
policy I never approved) in your privilege of frank- 
ing. I have seen no foi mal document subsequent to 
that period, but I have been credibly informed there 
is very good ground to believe that the revenue of 
the Post-OfBce* still continues to be regularly and 
largely upon the rise. 

• The above accoant is taken from a paper ^hich was ordered by 
the House of Commons to be printed 8th December, 1796. From 
the gross produce of the year ending 5th April, 1796, there has been 
deducted in that statement the sum of 36,666.'., in consequence of the 
regulation on franking, which took place on the 5th May, 1795, and 
was computed at 40,000/. per ann. To show an equal number of 
years, both of peace and war, the acconntt of two preceding years are 
giren in the following table, from a report made since Mr. Burke's 
death by a committee of the House of Commons appointed to con- 
sider the claims of Mr. Palmer, the late Comptroller-General ; and 
for still greater satisfaction, the number of letters, inwards and out 
wards, have been added, except for the year 1790 - 1791. The letter- 
bock for that year is not to be found. 

POST-OFFICE. 

number of Letten. 



GroM Bevenne. 



AprU, 1790- 1791 
1791-1792 
1792-1793 
1793-1794 
1794-1795 
1795-1796 



575,079 
585,433 
627,592 
691,268 
705,319 
750,637 



Inwards. 

6,391,149 
6,584,867 
7,094,777 
7,071,029 
7,641,077 



Outwaidi. 

5,081,344 
5,041,187 
6,537,234 
7,473,626 
8,597,167 



From the last-mentioned report it appears that the accounts have 



■ ^.liMj i .m ^ m! 



LETTGB m. 



495 



What is the true inference to be drawn from the 
annual number of bankruptcies has been the occasion 
of much disput . On one side it has been confident- 
ly urged as a sure symptom of a decaying trade : on 
the other side it has been insisted that it is a cir- 
cumstance attendant upon a thriving trade ; for that 
the greater is the whole quantity of trade, the great- 
er of course must be the positive number of failures, 
while the aggregate success is still in the same pro- 
portion. In truth, the increase of the number may 
arise from either of those causes. But all must agree 
in one conclusion, — that, if the number diminishes, 
and at the same time every other sort of evidence 
tends to show an augmentation of trade, there can bo 
no better indication. We have already had very am- 
ple means of gathering that the year 1796 was a very 
favorable year of trade, and in that year the number 
of bankruptcies was at least one fifth below the usual 
average. I take this from the declaration of the Lord 
Chancellor in the House of Lords.* He professed to 
speak from the records of Chancery ; and he added 
another very striking fact, — that on the property 
actually paid into his court (a very sn all part, in- 
deed, of the whole property of the kingdom) there 
had accrued in that year a net surplus of eight hun- 
dred thousand pounds, which was so much new cap- 
ital. 

But the real situation of our trade, during the 

not been completely and authentically made np for the years ending 
6th April, 1796 and 1797 ; but on the Receiver-General'B books there 
iB an increase of the latter year over the former, equal to something 
more than 5 per cent. 

• In a debate, 30th December, 1796, on the return of Lord 
Malmesbnry. — See Woodfall's Parliamentary Debates, Vol. XIIL 
p. 691. 






-^iH^tlwm 






M»' 



496 



LETTERS Oy A REGICIDE PEACH. 



, 



i^ 



-rt 



it ill 



whole of this war, deserves more minute investiga- 
tion. I shall begin with that which, though the least 
in consequence, makes perhaps the most impression 
on our senses, because it meets our eyes in our daily 
walks : I mean our retail trade. The exuberant dis- 
play of wealth in our shops was the sight which most 
amazed a learned foreigner of distinction who lately 
resided among us : his expression, I remember, was, 
that " they teemed to he hunting with opulence into the 
ttreets." The documents which throw light on this 
subject are not many, but they all meet in the same 
point: all concur in exhibiting an increase, Tho 
most material are the general licenses* which the 
law requires to be taken out by all dealers in ex- 
cisable commodities. These seem to be subject to 
considerable fluctuations. They have not been so 
low in any year of the war as in the years 1788 
and 1789, nor ever so high in peace as in the first 
year of the war. I should next state the licenses to 
dealers in spirits and wine ; but the change in them 
which took place in 1789 would give an unfair ad- 
vantage to my argument. I shall therefore content 
myself with remarking, that from the date of that 
change the spirit licenses kept nearly the same level 
till the stoppage of the distilleries in 1795. If they 
dropped a little, (and it was but little,) the wine 
licenses, during the same time, more than counter- 

* GENERAL LICENSES. 



TMiBoTPiMe. t 


Tesn of Wtr. 


« 




1787 . . 44,030 


1793 . 


. 45,568 




1788 . . 40,883 


1794 . 


. 42,129 




1789 . . 39,917 


1795 . 


. 43,350 




1790 . . 41.970 


1796 . 


. 41,190 


looRHe tolT90 


£ 166,799 




£170,237 


£3,438. 
InemaetolTSl 



1791 



. £ 44,240 4 Tean to 1791 £ 167,009 £ 3,238. 






LBREB in. 



497 



vafled that loss to the revenue; and it is remarka- 
ble with regard to the latter, that in the year 1796, 
which was the lowest m the excise duties on wine 
itself, as well as in the quantity imported, more deal- 
ers m wine appear to have been licensed than in 
Ty former ye^fe^cepting the first year of the war. 
This fact may raise some doubt whether the con- 
sumption has been lessened so ir a ± as, I believe, is 
commonly imagined. The only other retail-trade,^ 
whom I found so entered as to admit of being selected 
are teaniealers and sellers of gold and silver plate, 

both of whom seem to have °^"l«Pl^«*/7^"^^trt 
proportion to their aggregate number.* I have kept 
apart one set of Ucensed sellers, because I am aware 
that our antagonists may be inclined to triumph a 
Uttle, when I name auctioneers and auctions. They 
niay be disposed to consider it as a sort of trade 
which thrives by the distress of others. But i they 
will look at it a Uttle more attentively, they will find 



• DEALERS IN TRt 



1787 . 

1788 . 

1789 . 

1790 . 




£48,510 



. 13,939 

. 14,315 

. 13,956 

. 14.830 

£57,040 



1791 . £13.921 4 Yean to 1791 £51,497 



InereMC to ITW 
£8,530. 

iQcreua to 1791 
£5,543. 



SELLERS OF PLATE. 



XeanofPcMe. 

1787 . 

1788 . 
1780 . 
1790 . 



1791 

VOL. V. 




£29,883 



Yean of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 




£33,437 



£8,327 4 Yean to 1791 £31,616 
32 



InereuetolTM 
£ 3,555. 

iDcmie to 1791 
£1,821. 






mt^'-' 



498 



LETTEBS ON ▲ ntQICIDE PBAO. 



*: I 



their gloomy comfort vanish. The public iucomo 
from these licenses has risen with very great regu- 
larity through a series of years which all must admit 
to have been years of prosperity. It is remarkable, 
too, that in the year 1798, which was the great year 
of bankruptcies, these duties on auctioneers and auc- 
tions* fell below the mark of 1791 ; and m 1796, 
which year had one fifth less than the accustomed 
ayerage of bankruptcies, they mounted at once be- 
yond all former examples. In concludii< ' '" gen- 
eral head, will you permit me, my dear Sir, to bring 
to your notice an humble, but industrious and labo- 
rious set of chapmen, against whom the Tengeauce 
of your House has sometimes been levelled, with 
what policy I need not stay to inquire, as they have 
escaped without much injury ? The hawkers and ped- 
dlers,! I am assured, are still doing well, though, 
from some new arrangements respecting them made 
in 1789, it would be diflScult to trace their proceed- 
ings in any satisfactory manner. 

When such is tie vigor of our traffic in its minut- 
est ramifications, we may be persuaded that the root 
and the trunk are sound. When we see the life- 
blood of the state circulate so freely through the 



• AUCTIONS AND AUCTIONEERS. 



T«ut of Pnm. £ 


Te«r» of Wm. 


t 




1787 . . 48,964 


1793 . 


. 70,004 




1788 . . 63,993 


1794 . 


. 82,659 




1789 . . 52,024 


1795 . 


. 86,890 




1790 . . 63,156 


1796 . 


. 109,594 


IncKue to 1790 


jC 208,137 




£349,147 


£ 141,010. 



1791 



InercHe to ITSl 
. £ 70,973 4 Yean to 1791 £ 230,146 £ 119,001. 



i Since Mr. Burke's death a Foarth Report of the Committee of 
finance hu made iti appearance. An account ii there g^ven froon 






LETTEB m. 



499 



capillary vessels of the system, we scarcely need 
inquire if the hea.'t performs its functions aright. 
But let us approach it ; let us lay it bare, and watch 
the systole and diastole, as it now receives and now 
pours forth the vital stream through all the members. 
The port of London has always supplied the main 
evidence of the state of our commerce. I know, 
that, amidst all the difficulties and embarrassments 
of the year 1793, from causes unconnected with and 
prior to the war, the tonnage of ships in the Thames 
actually rose. But I shall not go through a detail 
of official papers on this point. There is evidence, 
which has appeared this very session before your 
House, infinitely more forcible and impressive to 
my apprehension than all the journals and ledgers 
of all the Inspectors-General from the days of Dave- 
nant. It is such as cannot carry with it any sort of 
fallacy. It comes, not from one set, but from manj 
opposite sets of witnesses, who all agree in nothing 
else : witnesses of the gravest and most unexception- 
able character, and who confirm what they say, in 
the surest manner, by their conduct. Two different 
bills have been brought in for improving the port of 
London. I have it from very good intelligence, that, 

the Stamp-Office of the gross prodnce of duties on Hawkers and Fed- 
dlers for four years of peace and four of war. It is therefore added 
in the manner of the other tables. 



HAWKERS AND PEDDLERS. 



TeanotPeaoe. 

1789 . 

1790 . 

1791 . 
1793 . 



£ 
6,132 
6,708 
6,482 
6,008 



£2S,330 
Increase in 4 Tears of War 



Years of War. 

1793 . 

1794 . 

1795 . 

1796 . 



. 6,042 

. 6,104 

, 6,795 

. 7,882 

£ 26,823 
, £ 1,493 



i|. 
Il 



500 



LETTEBS ON A REGICIDE PEACl. 



when the project was first suggested from necessity, 
there were no less than eight different plans, sup- 
ported by eight different bodies of subscribers. The 
cost of the least was estimated at two hundred thou- 
sand pounds, and of the most extensive at twelve 
hundred thousand. The two between which the con- 
tost now lies substantially agree (as all the others 
must have done) in the motives and reasons of the 
preamble; but I shall confine myself to that bill 
which is proposed on the part of the mayor, alder- 
men, and common council, because I regard them 
as the best authority, and their language in itself 
is fuller and more precise. I certainly see them 
complain of the "great delays, accidents, damages, 
losses, and extraordinary expenses, which are almost 
continually sustained, to the hindrance and discour- 
agement of commerce, and the great injury of the 
public revenue." But what are the causes to which 
they attribute their complaints ? The first is, " That, 
FROM THE VERY GREAT AND PROGRESSIVE IN- 
CREASE OP THE NFMBER AND SIZE of ships and 

OTHER VESSELS TRAD TO THE PORT OP LONDON, the 

river Thames, in and near the said port, is in general 
so much crowded with shipping, lighters, and other 
craft, that the navigation of a considerable part of 
the river is thereby rendered tedious and dangerous ; 
and there is great want of room in the said port for 
the safe and convenient mooring of vessels, and con- 
stant access to them." The second is of the same 
nature. It is the want of regulations and arrange- 
ments, never before found necessary, for expedition 
and facility. The third is of another kind, but to 
the same effect: That the legal quays are too con- 
fined, and there is not sufficient accommodation for 



rr 



LEITER m. 



601 



the landing and shipping of cargoes. And the fourth 
and last is still different: they describe the avenues 
to the legal quays (which, little more than a century 
Bince, the great fire of London opened and dilated 
beyond the measure of our then circumstances) to 
be now "incommodious, and much too narrow for 
the great concourse of carts and other carriages usu- 
ally passing and repassing therein." Thus our trade 
has grown too big for the ancient limits of Art and 
T.'ature. Our streets, our lanes, our shores, the nver 
itself, which has so long been our pride, are impeded 
and obstructed and choked up by our riches. Jliey 
are, like our shops, "bursting with opulence. To 
these misfortunes, to these distresses and grievances 
alone, we are told, it is to be imputed that still 
more of our capital has not been pushed into the 
channel of our commerce, to roll back in its reflux 
BtiU more abundant capital, and fructify the national 
treasury in its course. Indeed, my dear Sir, when 1 
have before my eyes this consentient testimony of 
the corporation of the city of London, the West In- 
dia merchants, and all the other merchants who pro- 
moted the other plans, strnggling and contending 
which of them shall be permitted to lay out their 
money in consonance with their testimony, I cannot 
turn aside to examine vhat one or two violent pe- 
titions, tumultuously voted by real or pretended liv- 
erymen of London, may have said of the utter de- 
struction and annihilation of trade. 

This opens a subject on which every true lover 
of his country, and, at this crisis, every friend to the 
Uberties of Europe, and of social order in every coun- 
try, must dwell and expatiate with delight. I mean 
to wind up all my proofs of our astonishmg and 



it 



^j-' 



H 



502 



LCTTEB8 0'- A RtOICmK PUACB, 



P 



m 



^ 



mi 



ulmost incredible prospc •ity with fie valuable infor- 
mation given to the Socr-it ConiuM.i; • of the Lords by 
the Inspector-General. And here I iin happy that I 
can administer an antidote to all de-spondence from 
the same dispensary from which the first dose of poi- 
son was supposed to have come. The report of that 
committee is generally believed to have derived much 
benefit from the labors of the same noble lord who 
was said, as the author of the pamplilet of 1795, to 
have led the way in teaching us to place all our 
hope on that very experiment which he afterwards de- 
clared in his place to have been from the beginning 
utterly without hope. We have now his authority 
to say, that, as far as our resources were concerned, 
the experiment was equally ^vithout necessity. 

" It appears," as the committee has very justly and 
satisfactorily observed, " by the accounts of the value 
of the imports and exports for the last twenty years, 
produced by Mr. Irving, Inspector-General of Imports 
and Exports, that the demands for cash to be sent 
abroad " (which, by the way, including the loan to 
the Emperor, was nearly one third less sent to the 
Continent of Europe than in the Seven Year?' War) 
. . . . " was greatly compensated by a very large bal- 
ance of commerce in favor of this kingdom, — gr -ater 
than was ever known in any preceding period. The 
value of the exports of the last year amounted, ac- 
cording to the valuation <■•■ which the accounts of the 
Inspector-General are founucd, to 30,424,184?.. wliich 
is more than double what it was in any year of the 
American war, and one tliirl more than it was on an 
average during the last peace, previous to the year 
1792 ; and though the value of the imports to this 
country has during the same period greatly inci -ased. 



■ 1^ 



LETTEB ITT. 



508 



the excess of the valu-? of the export abow taat of 
the imports, which m. istitutes the ha ice o' rade, 
has augmented even in a greater propoi aon." ^teso 
observatious might [KJriiaps be l> inched < ut ini,^ oth- 
er points ot iew, but 1 shall leave them i > your own 
active and ingenious nund. Tlu;re is another and 
stUl more important light a which the Insi^ctor- 
Gener il's information may ito seen, — and that [», as 
afiFoidiug a comparison of some circumstances in this 
war witli the commercial r iMory of all our other wars 
in the present oiitury. 

In ail furmer hostilities, our exports g> idually de- 
clined in value, and then /with one single exception) 
ascended again, tiU they reacJied and i issed the 
level of the preceding peace. But this wu a work 
of time, sometimes more, sometiii -s le^^- slow. In 
Queen Anne's war, which began in 17 02, it was a, 
interval of ten years before this was effected. Nine 
years only were necessary, in the war of 1739. 1 jr 
the suiue operation. Tl. Seven ears' War saw the 
period much short<Mied : hostilities began in ITfio; 
and m 1758, the fourth ear of the war, the e^ ts 
mounted above the j. ;voe -mark. There was, uowe^ 
er, a distinguishing feature of tluit war, — tho our 
tonnage, to the ery I ist moment, was in u stutc 
of great depressio. ^'^hile our commerce was chiefly 
arried on by foi igu vessels. he American w 
w^ darkened with sincrul ir and ..ecul'ar adyersu,. 
Our exports never can.e near to their pear'^"til ele- 
vation, and our tonnage contuiueu, with v ry little 
fluctuation, to subside lower and lower.* On the 

• TliJn account is extracted from dirferent parta of Mr. Chiilmers's 
estimate. It is but just to mention, hat in Mr. Chalmers-- intimate 



the sums are uniformly lo 
Irving's account 



er thi! ihose of the same jeui 



in 



504 



LETTEBS ON A BEOIOIDE PEACE. 



■ M 



il' 



other hand, the present war, with regard to our com- 
merce, has the white mark of as singular felicity. 
If, from internal causes, as well as the consequence 
of hostilities, the tide ebbed in 1793, it rushed back 
again with a bore in the following year, and from 
that time has continued to swell and ran every suc- 
cessive year higher and higher into all our ports. 
The value of our exports last year above the year 
1792 (the mere increase of our commerce during 
the war) is equal to the average value of all the ex- 
ports during the wars of William and Anne. 

It has been already pointed out, that our imports 
have not kept pace with our exports : of course, on 
the face of the account, the balance of trade, both 
positively and comparatively considered, must have 
been much more than ever in our favor. In that 
early little tract of mine, to which I have already 
more than once referred, I made many observations 
on the usual method of computing that balance, as 
well as the usual objection to it, that the entries at 
the Custom-House were not always trae. As you 
probably remember them, I shall not repeat them 
here. On the one hand, I am not surprised that 
the same trite objection is perpetually renewed by 
the detractors of our national affluence ; and on the 
other hand, I am gratified in perceiving that the 
balance of trade seems to be now computed in a 
manner much clearer than it used to be from those 
errors which I formerly noticed. The Inspector- 
General appears to have made his estimate with 
every possible guard and caution. His opinion is 
entitled to the greatest respect. It was in sub- 
stance, (1 shall again use the words of the Report, 
as much better than my own,) " that the true bal- 



LETTER in. 



605 



ance of oxir trade amounted, on a medium of the 
four years preceding January, 1796, to upwards of 
6,500,000?. per anaum, exclusive of the profits aris- 
ing from our Bast and West India trade, which he 
estimates at upwards of 4,000,000?. per annum, ex- 
clusive of the profits derived from our fisheries." So 
that, including the fishc-bs, and making a moderu.« 
allowance for the exceeJings, which Mr. Irving him- 
self supposes, beyond his calculation, without reckon- 
ing what the public creditors themselves pay to them- 
selves, and without taking one shilling from the stock 
of the landed interest, our colonies, our Oriental pos- 
sessions, our skill and industry, our commerce and 
navigation, at the commencement of this year, were 
pouring a new annual capital into the kingdom, hard- 
ly half a million short of the whole interest of that 
tremendous debt from which we are taught to shrink 
in dismay, as from an overwhelmmg and intolerable 
oppression. 

If, then, the real state of this nation is such as I 
have described, (and I am only apprehensive that 
you may think I have taken too much pains to ex- 
clude all doubt on this question,) — if no class is 
lessened in its numbers, or in its stock, or in its con- 
veniences, or even its luxuries, — if they build as 
many habitations, and as elegant and as commodious 
as ever, and furnish them with every chargeable dec- 
oration and every prodigality of ingenious invention 
that can be thought of by those who even incumber 
their necessities with superfluous accommodation,— 
if they are as numerously attended, — if their equi- 
pages are as splendid, — if they regale at table with 
as much or more variety of plenty than ever, — if 
they are clad in as expensive and changeful a diver- 



I 

:» 



1 






^0-' 



506 



LETTEBS ON A EEQICIDE PEACE. 



I 



Bity, according to their tastes and modes, — if they 
are not deterred from the pleasures of the field by the 
charges which government has wisely turned from the 
culture to the sports of the field, — if the theatres are 
as rich and as well filled, and greater and at a high- 
er price than ever, — and (what is more important 
than all) if it is plain, from the treasures which are 
spread over the soil or confided to the winds and 
the seas, that there are as many who are indulgent 
to their propensities of parsimony as others to their 
voluptuous desires, and that the pecuniary capital 
grows instead of diminishing, — on what ground are 
we authorized to say that a nation gambolling in an 
ocean of superfluiiy is undone by want? With what 
face can we pretend that they who have not denied 
any one gratification to any one appetite have a right 
to plead poverty in order to famish their virtues and 
to put their duties on short allowance ? that they 
are to take the law from an imperious enemy, and 
can contribute no longer to the honor of their king, 
to the support of the independence of their country, 
to the salvation of that Europe which, if it falls, must 
crush them with its gigantic ruins ? How can they 
affect to sweat and stagger and groan under their 
burdens, to whom the mines of Newfoundland, rich- 
er than those of Mexico and Peru, are now thrown in 
as a make-weight in the scale of their exorbitant op- 
ulence ? What excuse can they have to faint, and 
creep, and cringe, and prostrate themselves at the 
footstool of ambition and crime, who, during a short, 
though violent struggle, ..hich they have never sup- 
ported with the energy of men, have amassed .jore 
to their annual accumulation than all the well-hus- 
banded capital that enabled their ancestors, by long 



LEITEB m. 



507 



aad doubtful and obstinate conflicts, to defend and 
liberate and vindicate the civilized world? But I 
do not accuse the people of England. As to the 
great majority of the nation, they have done what- 
ever, in their several ranks and conditions and de- 
scriptions, was required of them by their relative sit- 
nations in society: and from those the great mass of 
mankind cannot depart, without the subversion of all 
public order. They look up to that government which 
they obey that they may be protected. They ask to 
be led and uirected by those rulers whom Providence 
and the laws of their country have set over them, and 
under their guidance to walk in the ways of safety 
and honor. They have again delegated the greatest 
trust which they have to bestow to those faithful rep- 
resentatives who made their true voice heard against 
the disturbers and destroyers of Europe. They suf- 
fered, with unapproving acquiescence, solicitations, 
which they had in no shape desired, to an unjust and 
usui-ping power, whom they had never provoked, and 
whose hostile menaces they did not dread. Wlien the 
exigencies of the public service could only be met by 
their voluntary zeal, they started forth with an ardor 
which outstripped the wishes of those who had m- 
jured them by doubting whether it might not be ne- 
cessary to have recourse to compulsion. They have 
in all things reposed an enduring, but not n unre- 
flecting confidence. That confidence demands a full 
return, and fixes a responsibility on the ministers en- 
tire and undivided. The people stands acquitted, if 
the war is not carried on in a manner suited to its 
objects. If the public honor is tarnished, if the pub- 
lic safety sufiers any detriment, the ministers, not 
the people, are to answer it, and they alcne. Its 



^^'' 



.'. ■•>-.¥• - 



508 



LBTTEH8 ON A BEGICIDE PEACB. 



armies, its navies, are given to them without stint 
or restriction. Its treasures are poured out at their 
feet. Its constancy is ready to second all their ef- 
forts. They are not to fen-r a responsibility for acts 
of manly adventure. The responsibility which they 
are to dread is lest they should show themselves 
unequal to the expectation of a brave people. The 
more doubtful may be the constitutional and eco- 
nomical questions upon which they have received so 
marked a support, the more loudly they are called 
upon to support this great war, for the success of 
which their country is willing to supersede consider- 
ations of no slight importance. Where I speak of 
responsibility, I do not mean to exclude that species 
of it which the legal powers of the country have a 
right finally to exact from those who abuse a public 
trust: but high as this is, there is a responsibility 
which attaches on them from which the whole legit- 
imate power of the kingdom cannot absolve them ; 
there is a responsibility to conscience and to glory, a 
responsibility to the existing world, and to that pos- 
terity which men of their eminence cannot avoid for 
glory or for shame, — a responsibility to a tribunal at 
which not only ministers, but kings and parliaments, 
but even nations themselves, must one day answer. 



mm 


f 






i 

h 

1- 

t j 
; j 


11 
1 


^^^^Ha 





XRD OF VOL. V. 



JL Ull. -J 




^/LgammmitM